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Full text of "Omni Magazine (February 1994)"


TEBRUARYT994 . -.. . 










CRICK ,-:-.;; II [ 



IN ORBIT ///// 


VOL. 16 NO. 5 











First Word 

wrJ^te, li9*k?^ v 


By Greg Meyerson 


Unhealthy Alliances 


By Linda Marsa 


Taxpayers pick up 

Political Science 


the tab when questionable 

By Tom Dworetzky 




form between government- 

By Robert K. J. Killheffer 

researchers and drug 

JHH " 



Omni Treasure Hunt 


Are medical ethics losing 


, ,. , .. . ■ ■....,,; 


out to the 



■ :■:■■* 

pressures of big money? 

By Nina L. Diamond 


Psychoactive cure 

Soul Searching with 


Francis Crick 


By Daniel Voll 

By Robert Angus 

Codiscoverer of DNA's 

Noise annoys 

double helix 


attempts to redefine our 


concept of soul 

By Jeffrey Zygmonl 

and pinpoint free will. 

V 3H ^HS 





w?%m JM\ mm 

Fiction: Assassin 

By Bill Lawren 

By Bruce McAllister 


The ability 

Electronic Universe 

to change has mixed 

By Gregg Keizer 

am "^ IH m V 





^V^H^Sfe^^H^I .-;.'. ■'■ ^fffSt 


By Hunler Whitney 

Tom Sever 

Mapping internal rhythms 

By Neil McAleer 


Archaeologist takes to the 


At the center of our universe, 

air— and gains 

By Devera Pine 

we traditionally envision the eternal human soul 

perspective on the lay 


According "io Francis Crick, (hat 

of the land. 


could change. Cover arl by Jim Zuckerman. (Additiona 


By Scot Morris 

art and photo credits, page 82) 





Analyzing the politics of patriotism 

By Greg Meyerson 

Nleyerson is 

professor of 
theory at the 
University ot 
North Carolina at 

The slave trade cost 50 million 
lives, says historian Howard Zinn. 
For most Black people, the Confed- 
erate flag symbolizes this holo- 
caust. March 4, 1992, was Con- 
federate Flag Day in North Ca- 
rolina. The Confederate flag flies 
atop the Georgia Capitol and, 
until recently, the Alabama Capi- 
tol. A bumper sticker features the 
Confederate flag and the mes- 
sage, "Heritage Not Hate." 

People need community and 
cultural identity, so some get 
their sense of belonging by hon- 
oring Robert E. Lee; others by hon- 
oring Harriet Tubman. I think we 
should honor Harriet Tubman, not 
the other guy. Instead, we get du- 
eling nationalisms. "If Blacks can 
have an NAACP, then why can't 
Whites have an NAAWP," Klan 
members will say. 

It is strange to equate Black 
and White nationalisms. The 
enormous power differences get 
lost in such equations. White peo- 
ple don't get Jim Crowed or 
lynched by the thousands or hit 
with job ceilings (except for wom- 
en) and restrictive covenants. 
Whites are not besieged by nox- 
ious stereotypes. In a recent 
study, subjects were shown pic- 
tures of a White man holding a ra- 
zor during an argument with a 
Black man. When the White sub- 
' jects described the picture, they 

remembered the Black man hold- 
ing the razor, Dominant stereo- 
types see Blacks as either crimi- 
nals or as beneficiaries of reverse 
discrimination, yet Blacks face 
systematic discrimination in apply- 
ing for mortgages or in job inter- 
views. (The jobless rate of Black 
college graduates is 2.24 times 
that of Whites.) Sister Soulja 
says Blacks can't be racist be- 
cause they don't have the power 
of White supremacy. 

Nationalism carries an uncan- 
ny logic though. Louis Farrakhan 
has stood on the same podium 
with Arthur Buiz (who argues in 
The Hoax of the Twentieth Cen- 
tury that the holocaust was an in- 
vention of Jews and commies) 
and White supremacist Tom Metz- 
ger. This is nothing new. In 1922, 
Marcus Garvey sought support 
from Edward Young Clark, the im- 
perial wizard of the Klan; in 1924, 
he invited John Powell, head of 
the Anglo-Saxon clubs, to speak 
at the United Negro Improvement 
Association headquarters; Elijah 
Muhammed met with Klan offi- 
cers in Atlanta to work out a trea- 
ty promising Elijah his Black na- 
tion within the United States as re- 
ward for supporting a right-wing 
takeover. In Chicago, several 
years ago, Steve Cokely, a Black 
Muslim follower of Farrakhan, 
made the news by insisting that 
there was a plot by Jewish doc- 
tors at Cook County Hospital to in- 
ject Black babies with the AIDS 
virus. Black and White united in 
their separateness and anti-Semi- 
tism. Jewish Nationalism is sub- 
ject to similar paradoxes. Shlomo 
Ariel, in a 1983 letter published in 
Ha'aretz, reported that in semi- 
nars set up tor young Israeli con- 
scripts, every group contained 
boys who argued for the physical 
elimination of Arabs. When Ariel 
. drew parallels between the 1982 
Sabra-Chatila massacres of Pal- 
estinian refugees and the Nazi ex- 

termination campaign, the boys 
"voiced their approval and de- 
clared their willingness to do the 
exterminating with their own 
hands" without guilt. 

Racism and nationalism are 
not identical, but they feed on 
each other. Patriotism, the moth- 
er of all nationalisms, feeds them 
both. I regularly ask my students 
how many Southeast Asians 
were bombed and starved by the 
U.S. government during the Viet- 
nam War. One hundred thousand 
is the usual answer. My students 
underestimate twentyfold Vietnam 
War deaths. Arthur Butz esti- 
mates that a million Jews died dur- 
ing World War II— most dead by 
diseases resulting from the trans- 
port of Jews to labor camps in 
the East. The Nazi apologist un- 
derestimates Holocaust victims 
only sixfold. Nearly 100 percent 
of Americans do not think the 
American flag is a symbol of im- 
perialism, Most Americans think 
that imperialism is nothing but the 
rhetoric of Muslim fanatics blind- 
ed by their own patriotism, 

Racial inequality is the van- 
guard of increasing class inequal- 
ity. In the United States, the top 
1 percent own more wealth than 
the bottom 90 percent. The rich- 
est 834,000's net worth is almost 
a trillion more than the poorest 84 
million, The world's richest billion 
have 83 percent of the wealth; 
the poorest billion, 1.4 percent. 
Americans tend to see class stat- 
us as a function of individual ef- 
fort. Everyone can be a million- 
aire, or at least middle class. 
Class, though, is more like a 
curve, where 80 percent of the stu- 
dents get F's. Since, class analy- 
sis is taboo in America, we get in- 
stead a rich mosaic of national- 
ism, racism, patriotism; the rich 
get richer — heritage, not hate. We 
could make a flag out of all of 
this if we didn't already have too 
many of them. DO 



Nuclear solutions to age-old disputes, glorious gums, 

and receiving signals from unknown origins 

Fight Back 

"Future War, Future Peace" by Ben 
Bova in your November 1993 issue 
was, on the whole, quite intriguing and 
very logical in its extrapolations on pos- 
sible fuiure events. The only point at 
which I think the narrative goes awry is 
the description ol the nuclear exchange 
between Pakistan and India. It seems 
to me that should there be a nuclear at- 
tack against a Muslim nation, other rad- 
ical fundamentalist Muslim nations 
would take the opportunity to strike 
with missiles of their own. Such an at- 
tack would provide the perfect oppor- 
tunity for a jusii'iec: jihad against the "in- 
fidels," carried out by nuclear means. 
Michael LaBauve 
Prineville, OR 
AOL: Demon3 

Chelation Frustration 

Your article on chelation therapy [Med- 
icine, November 1993] was sorely need- 
ed to help combat the prejudice against 
it on the part of the medical profession. 
I have witnessed the struggle to have 
Medicare pay for chelation treatments, 
whereas they will pay a large part of 
$35,000 for a heart bypass without com- 
ment — this, in spite of the fact that 
most bypass recipients require anoth- 
er operation in five years. I personally 
have struggled with periodontal prob- 
lems for years. During my last visit with 
my dentist he remarked that the improve- 
ment in my gums has been extraordi- 
nary since my series of chelation-ther- 
apy treatments. 

Charles F. Warren 
San Diego, CA 

There have been numerous well-con- 
ducted scientific studies attempting to 
show that chelation therapy improves 
atherosclerotic narrowing of arteries. 
and none have shown any benefit. De- 
spite the obv:c. is acpeal ic have a med- 
ical "Drano," none has thus far been 
found, but many of my patients have 
spent thousands pursuing this remedy — 
: with long-term benefits, 

Greg Skipper, M.D. 
Newberg, OR 

In Offense of Reason 

Robert Killheffer implies in "The Con- 
sciousness Wars" [October 1993] that 
science has essentially shown that the 
soul is entirely the creation of the 
brain, which will die with the rest of the 
body. Whoa! If we're going to talk 
about the mind, let's at least keep an 
open one. Consider the analogy com- 
paring the mind to a TV set. Just as a 
TV is tuned to a particular program 
that does not originate from within the 
TV, so might the brain act as an interpret- 
er of the mind. If we tamper with the in- 
nards of a TV, the picture will distort and 
eventually disappear, but we have not 
damaged the source of the signal. 

Steve Briggs 
South Portland, ME 

Regarding "Jn Defense of Reason" 
[Books, October 1993]: Since the mo- 
ment scientists actually established 
ratio and the intellect as the absolute 
measure for truth, the humiliating proc- 
ess of cynically reducing the enormous 
spectrum of human experience to a 
"scientifically measurable" and gener- 
ally recognized minimum has taken 
place. One fact that has been success- 
fully ignored all along is that what actu- 
ally is measurable depends entirely up- 
on the state of the technology you use 
to measure. A small look back to the 
time when radio waves or bacteria 
couldn't be measured or seen and 
were declared nonexistent should be 
enough to make science step back 
from its self-declared position of defend- 
er of absolute truth. 

Claude Pauly 
London, England Dd 

Got something to say but no time to 
write? Call (900) 285-5483. Your 
comments will be recorded and may 
appear in an upcoming issue of 
Omni. The cost for the call is 95 
cents per minute. You must be age 
18 or older. Touch-tone phones on- 
ly. Sponsored by Pure Entertain- 
ment, P.O. Box 166, Hollywood, 
California 90078. 


Readme first 

By Tom Dworetzky 

To install; In a virtual 
World, it's strictly cut-and- 
paste reality. It's been 
there/done that, spliced together 
to make each of us whoever we 
dream to be. So look out; it 
might turn out that you are who- 
ever you think. 

Moment 1; Cable surfing the 
dark fiber one day/night, I spied 
pixel rot in the corner of the holo 
color pattern and moused to it. 
I found that broken 
edge; don't know how. 
An old clip-chip toehold 
maybe, forgotten, un- 
erased. I slipped in. 

Moment 2: Holo- 
screens in my contacts 
showing too much, too 
soon. I don't want it; 1 
want it too much. Further 
in. It's old inside, layers 
of the onion peeling, re- 
vealing ancient buried 
wizardry. "Those who 
hate you don't win unless 
you hate them. Then you 
destroy yourself." 

Moment 3: Interlaced 
video waves still reced- 
ing from deep space, 
reaching us here at the 
new galaxy. The imagery of the 
past finally catches up, into the 
breech in the edge, smacks 
against the present visimagery. 

Moment 4; Bright sunlight pin- 
ning me to a ledge against a flat 
wall of hot concrete; the whomp 
of copter blades. "I knew if I contin- 
ued to look around it would be dif- 
ficult for me to contain my own 
emotions. So I turned from the 
red eyes of the crowd and 
looked only at the red eye of the 
camera, talking to the nation." I 
flash the crowd the victory sign, 
my arms outstretched. You're 
Dick! YOU'RE DICK! Rising over 
a valley, each point of light's a 
node of inspiration. Who had the 
-key? What did it open? 

Moment 5: The door latch is 

taped back so that it won't slam 
shut. Not a light on. The wave of 
ether pushes against my back; 
the pressure mounts. "And this is 
our beloved family dog. . . ." 

Moment 6: Mommy, mommy, 
momney, monney, money. I'm 
back. Mommy, "I made my mis- 
takes, but in all my years of pub- 
lic life I have never profited, nev- 
er profited from public ser- 
vice. ... I welcome this kind of 

examination because people 
have got to know whether or not 
their president is a crook. Well, I 
am not a crook." 

If you're going to be like that, 
I'm going to leave you. You won't 
have me to kick around anymore. 

Moment 7: Man with a beard, 
Abe, the Great Emancipator, talk- 
ing to me from a painting on the 
wall. 'They came after me, too,' 
he said. Boy my head hurts! 
"When the president does it, that 
means it is not illegal." 

A haze, churning from night in- 
to day, vaguely familiar faces: a 
crewcut, a bouffant, a headband 
with long, blond hair. Men grasp 
my biceps, hold me as we move 
from the shadows of a great 
house to a perfectly manicured 

lawn. Whomp, whomp, whomp. 
It's suddenly windy, loud, hun- 
dreds of people surround me in 
the burning sunlight, noise over- 
coming their shouts. The strong 
men help me up the stairs; I turn 
at the top, blinded by the light, 
and swing my arms stiffly to their 
extremes. Peace, I sign with my 
upturned fingers; that's what 1 
want now. Then into the dark ma- 
chine, and we're flying. Wheel 
Look at the little people 
down there. 

Moments; I thought I 
knew who I was, that no 
one and nothing could 
shake me. There it is, 
coming right at my 
head. ... "I want you 
to stonewall it." 

Epilogue. Medic Re- 
port 06753: Male In his 
twenties found in apart- 
ment after reported dis- 
turbance in the power 
grid near Swall and 
Wilstiire. Appears to 
have- gotten trapped in 
locked VR routine 
about 10:45 p.m. Was 
hallucinating and suffer- 
ing massive info over- 
dose but was stabilized and af- 
ter therapy should recover most, 
if not all, functions. As required by 
law, this case was immediately 
reported to the Virtual Diseases 
(VD) tracking unit of the Centers 
for Disease Control. The epidem- 
ic of such VD cases, now a na- 
tional crisis, requires that we iso- 
late the individual in electronic 
quarantine to prevent his now al- 
tered psychoneuroimrnunological 
system from further fragmentation 
and infection to surrounding info- 
grid virtual space. We have 
placed him in the ICU on Roose- 
velt Island where he will be provid- 
ed full life support and long-term 
psychoreconstruction. At present, 
he is being fed IV and soothed 
with light rock. DO 

Moving into 
the past you lake 
a chance of 
a lifetime. Anil 
tike the tube 
ot a sea wave, the 
database can 
collapse on you, 
out the imag- 
inary present is 
built on the 
imaginary past. 



EGM's Monolith is a good film on a modest budget 

By Robert K. J. Killheffer 

chain to tanning 
EGM Film 
International, part- 
nets Eyres 
and Griffiths have 
found success 
making movies for 
less. Right: a 
scene from Mono- 
lith. EGM's 

John Eyres and Geoif Grif- 
fiths didn't set out to be- 
come movie moguls. As 
partners in the early 1980s, they 
had built up a fairly successful 1 1 - 
store video-rental chain in South 
Wales and hardly thought of mak- 
ing movies themselves. 

But then a British filmmaker, 
Richard Driscoll, approached 
Eyres and Griffiths looking for in- 
vestment to complete his nearly 
finished film The 
Comic. The two 
bought in, and it 
didn't take much ex- 
posure to the mov- 
ie business to con- 
vince them they 
wanted more. "We 
went on the set for 
two days," Eyres re- 
calls, "and loved it. 
So we said, 'Hey, 
why don't we make 
a movie?'" 

So they founded 
EGM Film Interna- 
tional and in 1987 made their 
first movie, Good Night, God- 
bless, and a small profit. It 
wasn't until their fifth project, the 
science-fiction thriller Project 
Shadowchaser, that EGM had a 
real budget to work with. Shadow- 
chaser scored a surprising suc- 
cess, released theatrically across 
Europe and in the Far East and 
racking up impressive video num- 
bers here in the United States. 

On the strength of that film's re- 
cord, Eyres and Griffiths moved 
to Los Angeles, and this year 
they'll release their latest movie, 
Monolith, another science-fiction 
action thriller, starring Bill Paxton 
(Trespass, Near Dark, Boxing He- 
lena), Lindsay Frost {Dead Heat, 
As the World Turns), Louis- Gos- 
sett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentle- 
man, Enemy Mine, Diggstown), 
and John Hurt (The Elephant 
Man, Even Cowgirls Get the 
Blues). Directed by Eyres and pro- 

duced by Eyres and Griffiths, Mon- 
olith is the story of two cops 
(Paxton and Frost) who become 
unwilling partners in a search for 
the truth behind what they sense 
is a sinister cover-up of a bizarre 
murder. As it turns out, they 
have no idea just how sinistei 
and bizarre the case will become. 
Their search leads them quick- 
ly into trouble with a secret gov- 
ernment agency (the "Depart- 
ment of Historical 
Research") headed 
by the power-hun- 
gry heavy Villano 
(Hurt) and into dead- 
ly corf ici with the ali- 
en life force that Vil- 
lano hopes to con- 
trol — a being that 
can take over other 
bodies. There are 
shades of Invasion 
of the BodySnatch- 
ers and The Thing, 
but Monolith plays 
the old possession 
shtick for action rather than pure 
suspense (although there's plen- 
ty of that, too). 

In an industry made infamous 
by its GNP-sized budgets, over- 
priced stars, and rnake-or-break 
100-million-dollar risks, Eyres and 
Griffiths succeed by keeping 
their films well within reasonable 
costs. Their first movie was 
made on a budget of $120,000, 
and even Monolith, which hardly 
skimps on effects or explosions, 
cost a mere $8 million. "When I 
hear about sixty- or seventy-mil- 
lion-dollar budgets," says Grif- 
fiths, "I wonder, what are they do- 
ing with all that money?" 

One of the secrets to staying 
under budget is to use the avail- 
able technology: Eyres and Grif- 
fiths worked with Introvision, a spe- 
cial-effects studio, using a dual- 
projection system to obtain many 
of the exciting effects they were 
after, including a heart- stopping 

fight atop a high-rise under con- 
struction. (Introvision's system 
was also used in the train-wreck 
scene at the start of The Fugitive.) . 

The dual-projection system al- 
lows actors to step into an imag- 
ined set projected from detailed 
miniatures. Not only does it cost 
less than building monstrous life- 
sized sets or going on location, 
it makes breathtaking action se- 
quences possible without danger 
to actors or crew. "You couldn't 
do the high-rise shot without it," 
says Griffiths. "Well, you could, 
but can you imagine what it 
would take to get a whole film 
crew up thirty stories?" 

Another key to EGM's suc- 
cess, both creative and econom- 
ic, is the activity and interest of 
its owners. With Eyres directing 
and coproducing with Griffiths, 
they aren't spending megabucks 
on a big-name director or shell- 
ing out hefty cuts to outside pro- 
ducers and their hordes of assis- 
tants. "John loves to be involved 
in the whole process," Griffiths 
says, "He's there from the start all 
the way into the editing room." 
That kind of involvement gives 
EGM very close control over 
both the budget and content of 
its movies. 

Monolith will be available on vid- 
eocassette in late February, but 
naturally Eyres and Griffiths are al- 
ready ai work on their next film, 
a sequel to Project Shadowchas- 
er. They began shooting in Octo- 
ber, and at this point, plan to pro- 
duce as many as four films a 
year. What are their ambitions? Be- 
sides continuing their record of fi- 
nancial success, they'd love to 
make a truly great film. But Grif- 
fiths feels there's nothing but 
fate that can guarantee that. 

"John and I will always make 
good movies." he says. "I don't 
think we'll ever fail to do that. But 
a great film —that's in the hands 
of the gods." DO 



Does one trip equal 30 years on a therapist's couch? 

By Nina L. Diamond 

Treating drug 
wish a psychoac- 
tive drug is 
still considered 
Ironic, says 
University of Miami 


Deborah Mash, who 

heads the 

team conducting 

FDA human 

safety trials on 


It's the closest thing anyone's 
seen to a bona fide cure for 
drug and alcohol addiction, 
yet, paradoxically, ibogaine's cur- 
ative power seems to derive 
from its consciousness-altering 
properties. Despite the govern- 
ment's historic queasiness 
about sanctioning studies of mind- 
active drugs, ibogaine penetrat- 
ed the bias and survived to be- 
come oniy the second psychoac- 
tive drug to get the green light on 
the long road to FDA approval 
(MDMA was the first). "The FDA 
has been very responsive on 
this one," says neuroscientist 
_ Deborah Mash of the 
University of Miami. 
Mash heads the team 
conducting the FDA hu- 
man safety trials. 

Mash is the latest 
link in the ibogaine sto- 
ry, but one who will 
bridge the gap be- 
tween anecdotal evi- 
dence and scientific 
proof needed for FDA 
approval. Ibogaine is 
derived from the roots 
of Tabemanthe iboga, 
a shrub native to equa- 
torial Africa, where 
tribes have long used 
it in small doses to re- 
main alert while hunt- 
ing and in larger amounts during 
sacred rituals. In 1962, heroin ad- 
dict Howard Lotsof took a trip on 
ibogaine and afterward found 
that he'd lost his desire for hero- 
in and suffered no withdrawal 
symptoms [see Mind, July 1993 
Omni], Lotsof gave the sub- 
stance to other addicts, and 
they, too, were unhooked from 
drugs that previously ruled their 
lives. "The International Coalition 
for Addict Self-Help ran under- 
ground trial testing on ibogaine," 
Mash says, "and it was found to. 
cure addiction to heroin, cocaine, 
sic cine. 1 " substances." 

In 1986, Lotsof formed NDA In- 
ternational and secured a use pat- 
ent on ibogaine for treating drug 
and alcohol addiction. Under- 
ground trials began in the Neth- 
erlands in 1990, with more than 
three dozen addicts since treat- 
ed as test cases. Tests will soon 
begin in other European coun- 
tries and in Israel. Mash was 
among the American investiga- 
tors invited to Leiden to witness 
ibogaine in action. "I call it a chem- 
ical bar mitzvah," she quips. "It's 
a psychoactive drug, but not a hal- 
lucinogen like LSD. It puts you in- 
to a thirty-six-hour waking dream 
state. During this altered state of 
consciousness, you relive your 
childhood experiences, get to the 
root of your addictions." 

"Ibogaine was used as a rite of 
passage in Africa," says Lee 
Hearn, laboratory director of the 
Metro-Dade Medical Examiner's 
Department and a member of 
Mash's team, "Now it may be 
used to reprogram an addict's 
life. Anecdotal reports indicate 
that while on ibogaine, he or she 
is detached from childhood rec- 
ollection, but is reexamining, com- 
ing to grips with it, perhaps un- 
derstanding it for the first time. All 
neuroses are potentially solvable 
this way. Drug addiction," he 
adds, "is an illness of the spirit. 
If you're going to cure it, you 
have to do so at that level." 

Mash remembers Mark, an 
American in Holland for ibogaine 
treatment, "His brain was working 
overtime. He was viewing his 
past as a detached participant, 
observing where he went wrong, 
reintegrating it. He didn't want to 
speak or be interrupted. I spoke 
to him but didn't want to be intru- 
sive." On ibogaine, one may con- 
front experiences long ago 
swept under the emotional car- 
pet. Scientists have been startled 
to see that ibogaine cures the anx- 
iety of decoupling from a long- 

term habit, prevents withdrawal 
symptoms, and relieves — al- 
though not completely elimi- 
nates — cravings, "Mark went thir- 
ty days without craving, but then 
it started," Mash reports. "We 
don't understand craving, al- 
though it's tied to relapse. An ad- 
dict will tell you it's triggered by 
certain cues. We think it's similar 
to classical conditioning [see 
Mind, November 1993 Omni]." 

Mash is testing ibogaine's phar- 
macologically active metabolites, 
"If craving returns to some extent 
In some people, it may be be- 
cause ibogaine's meiabolites are 
washing out over time," she spec- 
ulates. "Maybe we'll need some- 
thing after ibogaine for mainte- 
nance.." But so far no one has 
had a bad trip, and the only side 
effects reported are slight nausea 
and imbalance at the treatment's 
beginning. In monkey studies, 
Mash found no brain toxicity. "Tox- 
icity only showed up in a study at 
Johns Hopkins University, and it 
was only toxic in near-lethal high 
doses." Yet ibogaine's physiolog- 
ical mechanism remains a mys- 
tery. It doesn't bind to any 
known brain receptor, says 
Mash, whose team includes a neu- 
rologist, a psychiatrist specializ- 
ing in addiction, and a social work- 
er expert in "inner child" work. 

"A negative bias has evolved 
surrounding the use of psychoac- 
tive drugs," Hearn laments, "be- 
cause of recreational uses of sub- 
stances like LSD. It's a mistake to 
label them as bad because 
they're mind active. Maybe 
ibogaine will change some mis- 
perceptions and open the door to 
research with psychoactive 
drugs." Mash agrees, "Treating 
drug dependence with a drug is 
still considered ironic." Also iron- 
ic, she adds, is that the first trials 
are taking place in Miami, the pre- 
miere transit point for cocaine in 
this country. DO 



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It threatens your hearing and your health 

By Robert Angus 

noise levels inside 
according to some 
experts, can 
surpass the vol- 
ume that the 
EPA deems safe. 

Everybody knows that pro- 
longed exposure to loud 
noise can damage your 
hearing. But did you know that 
noise may also cause or contrib- 
ute to hypertension and sleepless- 
ness in adults as well as learning 
impairment and unruly behavior 
in children? 

More than 28 million Ameri- 
cans have significant hearing im- 
pairment, much of it permanent 
and unbeatable. The Environmen- 
tal Protection Agency estimates 
that nearly four times that num- 
ber — about 40 percent of the to- 
tal U.S. population' — is exposed 
to enough noise to cause perma- 
nent hearing loss. Couple that 
with acoustician Alice Suter's con- 
clusion that the noise level in Amer- 
ica is increasing at a rate of 1 per- 
cent a year or better and you 
have the makings of a major 
health problem. 

The dangers of noise are, un- 
fortunately, not as clear-cut as 
those from most other health haz- 
ards. First of all, one person's 
noise may be another's music. 
And noise measurements taken 
in the same location at different 
times produce differing results. Fi- 
nally, noise can fool the human 
ear. An Increase in sound of 
three decibels (the measurement 
unit used by acousticians) — be- 
lieved to be the smallest incre- 
ment delectable by humans — 
actually represents a doubling of 
sound energy. In fact, what 
sounds like a doubling of loud- 
ness to us is actually a tenfold in- 
crease, 10 dB, in sound energy. 

Daytime sound levels in a qui- 
et suburban neighborhood gen- 
erally register about 52 dB, while 
city noise scores closer to SO dB. 
While airlines typically plead ig- 
norance about the noise levels in- 
side their passenger cabins, 
acoustical experts put the level at 
78 dB to 83 dB, depending on 
the type of plane, the exact loca- 

tion of the measuring device, and 
whether the plane is climbing or 
cruising. A Los Angeles apart- 
ment immediately adjacent to a 
busy freeway may have a noise 
level as high as SS^dB. While 
sound actually becomes physical- 
ly painful at 132 dB, the EPA has 
decreed 55 dB as the average 
safe level for noise. 

While the threats of noise to 
hearing are well known, scientists 
are only now discovering that it 
can trigger different sorts of 
health risks. For example, studies 
on animals indicate that pro- 
longed exposure to noise raises 
blood pressure, which then re- 
mains elevated long after the 
noise has disappeared. 

Traditionally, acousticians have 
tried to reduce noise levels by us- 
ing sound-damping materials 
such as draperies, carpeting, 
and acoustic tiles. Unfortunately, 
there's a rather modest limit to 
how much sound these materials 
can absorb. The modern ap- 
proach, by contrast, relies on ac- 
tive electronic noise cancellation 
rather than simple isolation. The 
German audio firm Sennheiser 

used this principle in the head- 
phones it developed for a major 
European airline. The lightweight, 
open-air headphones contain a ti- 
ny microphone built into the ear 
cup thai picks up outside noise 
and feeds it to a processor, also 
in the ear cup, that determines 
both the volume and its frequen- 
cy distribution. The processor 
then generates a signal that's 
equal to but out of phase with the 
noise, -and it mixes the new sig- 
nal with any program material — 
air-traffic instructions, perhaps, or 
an in-flight movie soundtrack — 
and sends it out to the wearer. 
The listener hears all of the pro- 
gram information and only about 
half of the noise that would be au- 
dible without the headphones. 
For safety reasons, this technique 
doesn't perform noise cancella- 
tion on higher frequencies normal- 
ly' associated with voice warnings 
and high-pitched alarms. Recent- 
ly, two additional manufacturers — 
Koss Corporation and Noise Can- 
cellation Technologies — intro- 
duced noise-cancellation head- 
phones of their own. 

For those of us without access 
to such technology, simple acous- 
tic earplugs of the type recom- 
mended by the Occupational Safe- 
ty and Health Administration for 
use in noisy workplaces also re- 
duce perceived noise by about 
50 percent. These earplugs are 
most effective in blocking high- 
frequency sound, while active 
noise cancellation best screens 
out low-frequency noise, the 
kind that interferes most with 
speech intelligibility. 

Auto makers Nissan and Ford 
and several aerospace research 
facilities in Great Britain are try- 
ing to apply active noise cancel- 
lation to entire cars and jetliners. 
The technology they've come up 
with so far, alas, falls short of the 
individual headsets produced by 
Sennheiser and others. DQ 



Power source for a future generation of cars 

By Jeffrey Zygmont 

The drive to 
develop fuel cells 
lor trans- 
portation enjoys 
support not 
Just from Earth- 
flrslers and 
hydrogen heads, 
but from 
government and 
people as well. 

an image problem ever 
since the Hindenburg — the prize 

German blimp that was buoyed by 
the explosive gas — went down in 
flames in Lakehurst, New Jersey, 
in 1937. But fuel-eel! advocates 
point out that the gasoline that to- 
day powers our precious automo- 
biles is also an incendiary sub- 
stance. And the fact that we han- 
dle so much of it so safely 
proves, if nothing else, that it's pos- 
sible to safeguard ourselves 
against hazards inherent in fuels. 

Besides, fuel cells hold enor- 
mous promise as a power 
source for a future generation of 
automobiles. Electric cars driven 
by fuel cells instead of batteries 
could provide the long driving 
range and rapid refueling we're 
accustomed to without spewing 
pollutants. And hydrogen is as 
plentiful as sea water. What bet- 
ter replacement for finite, nonre- 
newable gasoline? 

Today, General Motors, Allied 
Signal, Dow, and Lockheed 
have fuel-cell programs, The tech- 
nology boasts its own lobbying 
organization, the Ad Hoc Coali- 
tion on Fuel Cells for Transporta- 
tion. And last year, Senator Har- 
ry Reid of Nevada hosted a 
hearing to promote the gas be- 

fore a subcommittee of the En- 
vironment Committee. 

"This is a high-risk, high-pay- 
off field. It deserves a lot of gov- 
ernment support," says Paul Mac- 
Cready, founder and chairman of 
AeroVironment, the engineering 
firm that helped GM design its im- 
pact electric car. Its latest project, 
the solar-powered Eternal Air- 
plane, will use regenerative fuel 
cells for the night power needed 
to keep it aloft forever. 

Like batteries, fuel cells gener- 
ate electricity by chemical reac- 
tion. But batteries require recharg- 
ing—basically, using electricity to 
drive the reaction in reverse, re- 
turning the battery to its original, 
charged state. With current tech- 
nology, it may take up to several 
hours to recharge electric car bat- 
teries, even after a mere 100 
miles or so of driving. 

In a fuel cell, the reaction gen- 
erally moves in one direction. Af- 
ter giving up electrons at the an- 
ode, hydrogen migrates through 
an electrolyte to combine with oxy- 
gen at the cathode, creating wa- 
ter as a byproduct and feeding a 
flow of electrons — electricity, 
that is— between the terminals. 
The cell requires no recharging, 
though it must be refueled. 

Given a widespread distribu- 
tion system, refilling a car with 
hydrogen and (absent a fix for 
cell contamination by plain air) 
pure oxygen could conceivably 
be as simple as topping up with 
gasoline at the corner garage. Of 
course, hydrogen filling stations 
won't appear before there are 
cars to patronize them. And 
since few consumers are likely to 
buy hydrogen-powered cars with- 
out a ready fuel source, the fuel- 
cell initiative, aims to start by pop- 
ulating fleets, which can keep hy- 
drogen supplies at their termi- 
nals. In fact, electric buses with 
fuel-cell power are already appear- 
ing. One built by Canada's Bal- 

lard Power Systems is circling 
test tracks; a U.S. Department of 
Energy program aims to com- 
plete three by next year and be- 
gin urban fleet testing in 1995. 

Tackling transit buses first al- 
lows fuel-cell builders to gain op- 
erational experience while work- 
ing to develop cells small enough 
for automobiles and affordable 
for the motoring public. "Passen- 
ger cars are particularly challeng- 
ing due to the tight size con- 
straints and cost restrictions," 
says Peter Teagan, vice presi- 
dent charged with technology 
assessment for market-research 
company Arthur D. Little. 

Some developers say they're 
close. The R&D company Ener- 
gy Partners is trying innovative 
manufacturing methods — replac- 
ing expensively machined parts 
with molded ones, for example. 
"The ultimate goal is to use mass- 
production techniques in the man- 
ufacture of fuel cells as a replace- 
ment for internal-combustion en- 
gines," says Rhett Ross, Energy 
Partners' sales manager. 

Still other hurdles remain be- 
fore fuel cells become suitable for 
private cars. Hydrogen itself is rel- 
atively expensive. Also, on-car 
tanks for gaseous hydrogen re- 
main troublesome. One proposal 
would equip autos with reformers: 
devices that convert methanol or 
natural gas to hydrogen. The 
DOE-sponsored buses reform 
methanol on board. But skeptics 
say that an automobile is just too 
confined for that. 

Robert Rose scoffs at skeptics. 
"What we're talking about is 
engineering, and engineering 
yields to money," says the coor- 
dinator of the lobbying group. He 
expects that once fuel-cell feasi- 
bility is apparent, private-sector 
R& D will really take off. "I am confi- 
dent that people will find ways to 
make money selling fuel-ceil-pow- 
ered vehicles," he says. DO 


Asteroseismology could answer ancient questions about the universe 

By Bill Lawren 

The largest 
known planetary 
nebula, the 
Helix Nebula, con- 
sists of a cloud 
of gas surrounding 
the remains 
of a red giant. As- 
tronomers have 
theorized that when 
the gaseous 
nebula drifts away, 
the central 
star becomes a 
white dwarf. 

Ai intriguing new field 
called asteroseismology 
l has sprung up within 
the larger discipline of astronomy. 
While its name might make it 
seem a bit arcane and overspe- 
cialized, the data, gathered by its 
practitioners is anything but. As- 
teroseismology could unravel 
some ot the cosmos's knottiest 
mysteries — even the birth date of 
the universe itself. 

Asteroseismology, explains Io- 
wa State University astronomer 
Steven Kawaler, works very 
much like the terrestrial variety, 
Seismologists waich the acoustic 
compression waves generated 
when an earthquake takes 
place. As those waves radiate 
through the inner earth, they 
bounce off any region where the 
composition or density of materi- 
al suddenly changes, which 
gives the scientists a sort of CAT- 
scan profile of the inner earth and 
its distinct layers. 

Asteroseismology is similar, ex- 
cept, as University of Texas as- 
tronomer Edward Nather says, 
"We don't have to wait for an earth- 
quake." The stars that asteroseis- 
mologists study are constantly vi- 
brating, sending compression 
waves ricocheting through their in- 
teriors to the surface, where they 
manifest as changes in the stars' 
brightness. Asteroseismologists 
have learned to measure these 
changes using global telescope 
networks such as the Whole 
Earth Telescope. 

Most recently, the scientists 
have trained the networks on a 
particular white-dwarf star that 
goes by the uninteresting name 
of PG-1159-035. But the observa- 
tions reported by Nather and his 
University of Texas colleague 
Donald Winget are nothing short 
of fascinating; They indicate that 
as PG-1159-035 changes bright- 
ness, it can display at least 125 
different light frequencies, with dis- 

play periods ranging anywhere 
from 385 to 1 ,000 seconds. 

The white dwarf's dazzling 
show reveals a wealth of informa- 
tion to asteroseismologists, Until 
recently, Nather explains, astrono- 
mers had assumed that the in- 
sides of white dwarfs were uni- 
form, composed of the same ma- 
terial from the surface down to 
the core — "just big bowls of jel- 
ly," as Nather puts it. But the com- 
plexity of PG-1159-035's varia- 
tions suggests that their insides 
contain layers. 

Asteroseismology also pro- 
vides fascinating clues to the 
star's history. In particular, the 
new data is helping to resolve 

what Nather calls "one of the 
great mysteries in astronomy" — 
how red-giant stars come to end 
their lives as white dwarfs. 

Astronomers agree that red gi- 
ants eventually run out of ther- 
monuclear fuel and then collapse 
into ultradense white dwarfs. But 
they don't know the detailed sto- 
ry of that collapse. Some theorize 
that as red giants collapse, they 
eject their outer atmospheres, 
which become clouds of gas — 
or nebulae — at the center of 
which is a very hot, contracting ob- 
ject that will eventually become a 
white dwarf. 

If that scenario is correct, Nath- 

er says, then white dwarfs 
should be constantly cooling off. 
But the observations that he and 
Winget compiled indicate that PG- 
1159-035 is actually heating up. 
"That was a shocker," Nather 
says. "It tells me that we don't 
have the story right yet." 

Getting the story right is import- 
ant. White dwarfs, Nather ex- 
plains, represent "the end prod- 
ucts of stellar evolution. So writ- 
ten in .the white dwarfs is the 
history of the way stars have be- 
haved since day zero." 

To piece together this history, 
asteroseismologists take "temper- 
ature censuses" of white dwarfs 
in the disc of the Milky Way. If the- 
ory holds, the coldest of these 
stars should be the oldest, and 
calculating the distribution of the 
hotter white dwarfs indicates the 
rate at which they've cooled. A lit- 
tle math yields a figure for the gal- 
axy's age; about 10 to 11 billion 
years, according to Nather, 

But Nather readily admits that 
"the whole business of the age of 
the universe is up in the air." Meas- 
urements of the oldest stars in the 
halo of the Milky Way — which 
many experts think formed before 
the galactic disc — produce an 
estimated age for the universe of 
15 to 16 billion years. 

In an effort to resolve the con- 
flicting estimates, Nather and his 
colleagues began last spring to 
examine white dwarfs in the ga- 
lactic halo. If the temperature 
range of those stars corresponds 
to that of the disc's white dwarfs, 
then the universe may indeed be 
as "young" as Nather proposes. 
But if they turn out to be older 
(that is, cooler), then the 1 5-to- 1 6- 
billion-year estimate may be clos- 
er to the truth. 

"That's the issue we're trying to 
resolve: What was the timetable 
for the construction of the uni- 
verse?" Kawaler says. "It's a very 
exciting time for us," DO 

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In search of sophisticated electronic entertainment 

By Gregg Keizer 

The models 

pose, the shutter 

clicks, and 

you're the one 

calling the 

shots. Penthouse 


Virtual Photo 

Shoot puts 

the user behind 

the erotic 

Penthouse lens. 

f^ ^^ ix sex with science fic- 
I I tion and you've got a 
I \M I potent — and provoca- 
tive — combination. Old tales of out- 
er-space orgasms and weight- 
less love making may have been 
shoved aside by all-too-realistic 
scenarios of plague or mind-numb- 
ing teledildonics, but sex still 
plays a big part in telling the sto- 
ries of the future. As it should. For 
what kind of fun would it be get- 
ting to the future if sex weren't 
along for the ride? 

Too bad digital science fiction 
doesn't agree. Sure, there's an 
oblique reference in a game 
here, an adolescent hormone run 
amok in a game there. But if you 
want an adult diversion on. your 
personal computer — and that's 
about the only place you'll find it, 
since the major videogame mak- 
ers keep their publishers on a 
tight censorship leash — you'll 
have to look outside of science fic- 
tion. At least for now. 

it may not be everyone's ideal 
entry into .the adult arena, but Pent- 
house International's Virtual Pho- 
to Shoo; is the slickssi . mosL pro- 
fessionally produced p ece of 
bawdy binary to dale- In :\'-s com- 
pac: dsc — avai'abio for the ■■.■■lac im- 
part of a magazine photographer 
snapping pics in a virtual photo 
studio. And with the Penthouse 
name, it doesn't take a. rocket sci- 

entist to figure out who the sub- 
jects are T-:e tn-ee d:c : tizec ■.vc--- 
en or vie disc are as beautifi-i 
sensua . snc cere:! ol clo'hirg as 
the ones in its namesake. 

Putting the vast s'.orage capa- 
b liiies of CD-ROM to good use. 
Virtual Photo Shoo! includes "90 
minutes of QuickTime video on 
the Mac version (and a similar 
a'r-xji.rt of Video for Wi idows loot- 
age on the PC version), an audio 
CD-quality background beat, and 
piay a part ir helping you sus- 
pend disbelief as you enter the 
imaginary studio, virtual Nikons 

around yourriefek.. 

During -.he photo shoots, you 
go interactive by literally calling 
the shots. Like a real photogra- 
pher, youjell _the_rriQdgl.s. how-to 
pose; then as their video ciips 
comply, you' click the shutter 

shtit . "Trie" fra mes .y-QuVe 

snapped are noted and later dis- 
played on a contact sneet cf 
thumbnails. ~ne easily ravic,a;ed 
interface "lets you back up, recall 
the last shots, or even change 
your mind when you're in the dark- 
room, where you can replace one 
frame with another. When it's all 
over, Penthouse publisher Bob 
Guccione appears onscreen to cri- 
tique your work. 

Virtual Photo Shoot is intriguing 
not only 'or wha: it does, but tor 
the lechmiques and technoiogy.it 
"applies. Unlike many-other-CD--- 
ROlvi titles that. pc)mi.se_intemc-_ 
tivjty and_ then. only. _let._yo_u_ 
choose which way to turn at the 
end of some dungeon cc:rico\ Vir- 
tual Phoic Slice! \e:s you make 
he same choices that a Pent- 
her disposal. That's the essence 
of ^jdtluaLexpIeJjlu^.ISM."T/ie — 
key to believing in.the_.exp.eri- 
ence— "and .in the. end, buying the 
idea that you're, not just in- front of 
your computer — is the video, 
which was shot specifically for 

the disc. Multiple camera angles, 
closeups, and fluid motion all con- 
tribute to the feeling that you are 
in charge, not just playing a pas- 
sive observer. 

Digital science fiction would be 
smart to pick up a pointer or two 
from Photo Shoot. Though sci- 
ence-fiction action games are 
cool, they ain't the only game in 
town (no matter what the publish- 
ers think). Exotic, or erotic, sci- 
ence fiction based on adult char- 
acters, not just a charging plot 
line, is possible electronically. 

Hope beyond PCs is on the ho- 
rizon. The new Panasonic FZ-1 Re- 
al 3D0 Interactive Multiplayer sys- 
tem, a multimedia game machine 
designed by 3D0 (the California 
startup led by Trip Hawkins), hit 
the shelves last fall. The Panason- 
ic 3D0 box uses a built-in CD- 
ROM drive, video-compression 
software, and special graphics 
processors to provide full- 
screen, full-motion video; high- 
quality sound; digitized speech; 
and flicker-free animation to its ti- 
tles. As important for science fic- 
tion and its adult audience, 
though, is the censor-free, hands- 
off approach 3D0 takes with its 
software developers. Unlike Nin- 
tendo and Sega, 3D0 won't re- 
strict its licensees to kiddy 
games, demand a ratings sys- 
tem, or excise content. It's as 
much a bow to the manufactur- 
ing process as anything, for al- 
though Nintendo and Sega con- 
trol the making of the cartridges 
that go into their machines, 3D0 
won't have that luxury. Anyone 
can press a CD. 

Science fiction, at least the 
kind published in binary form on 
disk or disc, needs to grow up. 
Software like Virtual Photo Shoot 
and systems like 3D0 provide the 
example and the means. All SF 
has to do now is catch up with 
the future — and the future does 
have sex. I promise. DO 

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j \miTitiii! hxpr.'-v J Clt:!, or money order 

■■■lilt . B.-l llM'li 

P.O. Box 6S9 • Oracle, Amur,,; 8?n23 • id. l-S:()-'iS-'!-!5:.i • F.ix: ..,;02i S23-62JS • Open tor loir* daily. 


Chronobiologists study the body's natural rhythms 

By Hunter Whitney 

From blood 


lo short-term 

even affecting 
the potency 

Ben sits in bed, intent-y tao- 
ping the buttons on a 
white box that looks like 
a mutant Gameboy, but he's not 
playing. The box is the Psycho- 
Log 24, and it's testing the 25- 
year-old's reaction time, mental 
arithmetic performance, and a 
host of other variables. Used by 
NASA scientists and other re- 
searchers, the Psycho-Log 24 is 
one of the newest developments 
in compact physiological and psy- 
chological rhythm monitors— instru- 
ments that could transform the 
way we live. 

All living things, from amoebae 
to Aunt Sally, possess .internal 


Hi- w; 

'"sum- «*»?:■:■■ - 

Z^~""" ^v 7 

'%{ '"'"' 


ot aspirin and 

clocks and calendars directing a 

other drugs, 

variety of biological cycles. Eve- 

your body's nat- 

ryone's hormone levels rise and 

ural rhythms 

fall in reliable patterns throughout 

may be the key to 

the day, week, month, and year, 

goad health. 

The same is true for body temper- 

ature and several other factors. 

The mind has its ups and downs 

as well: Short-term memory, for ex- 

ample, has daily peaks in the 

morning, while the senses sharp- 

en in the early evening. 

In the past, charting these hu- 

man "time structures" has been 

difficult. However, Franz Halberg, 

M.D., director of the chronobiol- 


ogy laboratories at the University 

of Minnesota, believes advanced 

26 OMNI 

technology can unlock the se- 
crets of what he calls the 
"chronome. " He is currently spear- 
heading a drive for the Human 
Chronome Initiative, a proposed 
international effort to map physi- 
ological rhythms. 

To Halberg, the standard an- 
nual physical exam is "like look- 
ing at a snapshot of someone on 
a roller coaster." Halberg and col- 
league Germaine Cornelissen, 
Ph.D., director of biometry at the 
chronobiology labs, are creating 
a reference databank of blood 
pressure, enzyme activity, and 
other chronomes. Cornelissen en- 
visions a time when everyone 
will have a personal chronome pro- 
file of key body rhythms. She 
says research has already found 
important applications for these 
chronomes. For example, the po- 
tency and toxicity of many drugs 
(including narcotics, asthma med- 
ications, and aspirin, as well as 
antihypertension and anticancer 
agents) depend upon when they 
are taken. "People can take low- 
er doses and get better results by 
taking blood-pressure medica- 
tions about' two hours before the 
peak in their circadian [roughly 
24-hour] blood-pressure rhythm," 
says Cornelissen. 

Erhard Haus, M.D., a professor 
in the department of laboratory 
medicine and pathology at the Uni- 
versity of Minnesota, points out 
that the link between rhythms and 
health reaches at least 6,000 
years into our past. Physicians in 
ancient Egypt, says Haus, had a 
system of "seven-day magic" in 
which the processes of life, includ- 
ing disease symptoms, were 
thought to revolve around seven- 
day cycles. "They had no data," 
Haus reflects, "but retrospective- 
ly, it seems as though they may 
have been onto something." Mod- 
ern medicine is rediscovering the 
importance of a roughly seven- 
day (circaseptan) rhythm. Accord- 

ing to Haus, for example, trans- 
plant patients tend to have more 
rejection episodes 7, 14, 21, and 
28 days after surgery. "In the 
past," he notes, "we thought so- 
cietal customs were responsible 
for circaseptan cycles, but uni- 
cellular organisms and rodents 
also display seven-day rhythms, 
and they don't care about our 

At the Hermann Center for 
Chronobiology and Chronother- 
apeutics in Houston, Texas, clini- 
cians work with a patient's time 
structure in diagnosis and treat- 
ment, using a host of compact 
monitoring devices, including 
wrist actigraphs and actillumes 
that look like digital watches but 
actually track and record pa- 
tients' biological rhythms. "We 
had a patient who was extremely 
depressed and had trouble sleep- 
ing," recalls Dr, Michael Smolen- 
sky, director of the Hermann Cen- 
ter. "Using the wrist monitor, we 
found that the patient had a rare, 
nearly twenty-six-hour sleep/ 
wake circadian rhythm instead of 
the usual roughly twenty-four- 
hour cycle." As a result of the ab- 
normal body rhythms, the man 
was becoming socially isolated. 
"We recommended a dramatic 
change in treatment," says Smo- 
lensky, "including bright-light ther- 
apy and other techniques to syn- 
chronize him to the societal 
norm of twenty-four hours." 

Smolensky believes "the time 
has come for chronobiology, and 
the idea of the Chronome Initia- 
tive makes sense." Widespread 
recognition of the importance of 
body rhythms would not only pro- 
vide new or improved treatments 
for various ailments, it could 
reshape the basic approach of 
modern medicine, moving it away 
from the outdated view of an un- 
changing body. "It's a big job," 
says Smolensky, "but at least 
we've begun. "DQ 


Madison Avenue commercializes space in its distinctive fashion 

By Devera Pine 

If space, as the Star Trek cre- 
do goes, is the. final frontier, 
then consider it tamed (part of 
it, anyway). And who did the tam- 
ing? NASA, perhaps? Or the So- 
viet/Russian space program? 
Nope — Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Last summer, millions of Amer- 
icans saw a Conestoga rocket sit- 
ting on its launch pad waiting to 
blast off into space with its pre- 
cious cargo, the Commercial Ex- 
periment Transporter (COMET). 
They also saw four words embla- 
zoned on the side of the rocket: 
Schwarzenegger and Last Action 
Hero. The rocket carrying the 
first private commercial space mis- 
sion also carried the first adver- 
tisement ever in space, making lo- 
cal space safe for sales pitches 
and sparking a vigorous debate 
over whether advertisements be- 
long in space at all. 

Officially, the Last Action Hero 
ad wasn't the first advertisement 
in space: In an effort to raise for- 
eign currency, for the- past four 
years the Russians have sold 
space on their Soyuz rockets to 
hawk merchandise ranging from 
Sony electronics to Unicharm fem- 
inine hygiene products. However, 
the Last Action Hero ad was the 
first to be done American style: in 
other words, with lots of hype. 

In fact, the $500,000 ad result- 
ed in about $20 million worth of 
publicity for Columbia Pictures, 
■largely due to the novelty of the 
event, says Mike Lawson, presi- 
dent and chief executive officer 
of Space Marketing, the ad- 
sales representative for the COM- 
ET, It didn't do much for the 
film's performance, however; 
Last Action Hero got trampled in 
the summer box-office battle by 
the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. Re- 
gardless of the ad's effect, we'll 
probably see billboards on rock- 
ets about every three years, 
Lawson predicts. "It depends on 
the hook — if it's viable," he says. 

Other forms of space advertis- 
ing may be a little slower to fol- 
low. Tentative plans for a logo- 
bearing, mile-wide mylar satellite 
operated by several organiza- 
tions have been scrapped. 
Space Marketing, however, does 
plan to continue selling ads on 
commercial rockets and even 
plans to film a commercial in 
space, according to Lawson. 

Officially, NASA remains neu- 
tral. "One of our goals was to en- 
courage space commercializa- 
tion," says Charles Redmond, a 
NASA spokesperson. "We had 
not anticipated it in this area." 

Redmond acknowledges that 
on some level, ads in space 
make NASA uncomfortable. But, 
he adds, "in the current climate, 
the impact on the economy is 
more important than it has been 
in the past. There is a slowly awak- 
ening awareness of current reali- 
ties and their impact on NASA." 

Those realities include a chang- 
ing NASA budget and a private- 
sector space-industry program 
that won't get off the ground. Are 
ad dollars the key to- funding pri- 

vate-sector space missions? 
"We're going to have to go after 
commercial dollars to help pay 
-for scientific research," says 
Lawson, "Absolutely no doubt." 

And the price we'll have to pay 
may be orbiting commercials. 
"When you give the private sec- 
tor the opportunity to conduct op- 
erations in space, you get what 
the private sector does, whigh is 
figure out how to make money," 
says John Logsdon, director of 
the Space Policy Institute at 
George Washington University. 
"It's along the lines of advertising 
under the ice and along the 
boards at hockey games. Aesthet- 
ically it may be displeasing, but 
you "either have to prohibit it or 
compensate pe"ople for money 
they could have made." 

Eventually, Logsdon says, 
rules governing space-based ads 
will have to be made so that ads 
don't interfere with other uses of 
space. "To the degree that you 
have some big reflecting sign up 
there that makes it difficult for as- 
tronomers on the ground to see — 
you probably want to prohibit 
that," he says. "But putting some- 
thing on the side of a rocket 
that's going to operate for two or 
three minutes and then be gone 
forever — so what?" 

John Pike, director of space pol- 
icy at the Federation of American 
Scientists, agrees — as long as 
the rocket belongs to the private 
sector, not the U.S. government. 
"I would be concerned if the shut- 
tle were all covered with decals 
like an Indy racer, with a big 
Pennzoil decal on the rudder." 

As for more permanent forms 
of space advertising, Pike hopes 
that we don't one day have the 
equivalent of the Goodyear 
blimp in orbit. "I think space is 
about the proposition that man 
does not live by bread alone— 
that there are values in life other 
than commercial values." DO 

This space lor 
rent: To 
acquire Irani 
the Russians 
sell adver- 
tising space on 
their Soyuz 
rockets lo firms 
like Sony. 



A memorial for a battle that goes on. Plus, laughter really is 

the best medicine, and sneakers ahoy! 

Architect Maya Lin knows 

the power 

of words and water. 

Standing on the top step of the South- 
ern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, 
Alabama, I can see the fragments of a 
history in danger of slipping into nation- 
al memory as, "That was the past." I can 
see the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church 
where Martin Luther King preached non- 
violent resistance, the street where wea- 
ry marchers from Selma filed toward Ihe 
Capitol steps, the same steps where Jef- 
ferson Davis swore to fight for slavery, 
a Capitol building that until 1993 flew the 
Confederate flag. 

Just beneath me, however, is 
morial intended not only to comn 
rate the past, but to speak in soft flow- 
ing water how the past is ever with us. 
Carved along the border of a round ta- 
ble that sits a:oD s pedes:a 'ow enough 
for the curious reach of children are the 
names of 13 major events of the civil 
rights movement and the names of 40 
individuals who lost their lives in the strug- 
gle for equality. Gently looming behind, a nine-foot curved 
wall bears a single inscription: ". . . until justice rolls down 
like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream." The Civ- 
il Rights Memorial, like the Center that commissioned it, is 
more than a testament to the past. It stands also as a warn- 
ing that so long as our society is content with abusing the 
poor, alienating minorities, and protecting the privileged il 
will be blood and not water that flows in our streets. 

Oddly named, the Center is about more than the South, 
or poverty, or the law. Founded in 1971 as a nonprotit legal 
and educational resource, the Center sought to protect the 
civil rights of minorities and the poor. During the 1970s, the 
Center was busy teaching lawyers how to try capital-pun- 
ishment cases; setting up Klanwaich, an investigative team 
that tracks hate-group activities; arc ;ry ng law suits involv- 
ing civil-rights abuses. However, it was the landmark case 
Donald v. United Klans of America (UKA)Vnat catapulted the 
Center and its executive director and chief trial counsel, Mor- 
ris Dees, into legal legend. 

In 1981 , the body of Michael Donald, a Black student at 
a local college, was found swinging from a camphor tree. A 
few miles away, the charred remains of a cross were found 

ger Knowles.-nd hsrry Hays were act- 
ing on behalt of the Klan when they mur- 
dered Donald, Dees argued that the 
UKA was responsible for the actions of 
its members. In a civil suit, the first of its 
kind, Dees won a $7 million verdict in 
punitive damages. 

More recently, the Center won a sim- 
ilar verdict for $12.5 million against Tom 
and John Metzger and other members 
of a neo-Nazi sknhead g'o.ip. These ver- 
dicts are designed to bankrupt hate 
groups and thus limit the resources need- 
ed to spread the gospel of hate and 
fear and the myth of White supremacy. 
As important as the legal victories are, 
however, they are only one aspect of the 
real work of the Center. As Dees puts it, 
"We've been in the education business 
for years." And so the Center has tak- 
en the fight against hate from the court- 
room to the classroom. 

Teaching Tolerance is the Center's lat- 
est project and one that will hopefully have long-range in- 
fluence in fighting the root causes of inequality. Designed 
to give teachers of grades K-1 2 a resource for teaching in- 
terracial understanding, Teaching Tolerance is a magazine 
and video packet distributed free to schools around the na- 
tion. "We don't have all the answers," Dees explains, "and 
we can't just sit kids down and say be tolerant. What we are 
doing with Teaching Tolerance is providing teachers with a 
forum to share ideas," a way to explore how fear and igno- 
rance beget hate and violence." 

Standing in front of the memorial, I read an issue of the 
Klanwatch newsletter. I am shocked by the extremity of of- 
fenses such as bars of Jewish human soap for sale in Flori- 
da, or a woman supporting gay rights in Colorado who is 
maced and held down while crosses are cut into her 
hands. But perhaps more horrifying still are the dozens and 
dozens of more ordinary hate crimes, the daily casual as- 
saults in the form of threatening letters, painted swastikas, 
and tire slashings. As I read over the 11 accounts of cross 
burnings representing six different states, I realize just how 
close our past is to the present. Behind me, I hear the faint 
sound of water pouring over the top of the wall, flowing over 
on the front lawn of the county courthouse. Two local Klan the names of those who have fallen. It is a deafening remind- 
members were convicted for the lynching. Here the story erof all that must yet be done until justice rolls like water and 
might have ended had not the Center seen an opportunity righteousness a mighty stream. 
to teach the Klan a lesson in responsibility. Claiming that Ti- — ANNA COPELAND 



Nature programs kokanee 
salmon to spawn ai 
age 4 and then deteriorate 
grotesquely and die. 
What if, Colorado Division of 
Wildlife biologists speculat- 
ed, the salmon couldn't 
spawn? Perhaps they would 
live longer, growing into 
trophy-sized giants. 

So in 1988, the biologists 
fed the steroid methyl 
testosterone to 169,000 new- 
ly hatched fry. (The FDA 
had approved the treatment, 
but it had never been put 
to use,) 

Instead of becoming 
sterile, the fish grew gonads, 
and although the absence 
of females prevented spawn- 
ing, at age 4, the kokanee — 
which by nature turn horribly 
ugly in their old age, 
developing humped backs 
and hooked jaws and 
losing their fins and scales — 
still began to die. The 
steroids made them bigger 
and stronger, enabling 
them to live a few months 
longer, but eventually "nature 
prevailed," says fisheries 

from some animal-rights 
activists, upset that it had 
artificially altered a natural 
life cycle. "It's a fair criticism. 
We were, in a way, playing 
God," Japhet says. 

But the division heard from 
even more fishermen who 
wanted to know when it 
would stock more of the big 
fish. The answer: It won't. 
"Any further work is best 
done as a full-blown study," 
Japhet says. 


Astronauts can't get away 
from exercise even in 
space: Working out in zero 
gravity prevents bones 
from leaching calcium and 
slows muscle loss. But 
whenever a shuttle astronaut 
jogs on the orbiler's tread- 
mill, the rest of the ship starts 
to rock and roll from the 
vibrations. All that bouncing 
around doesn't do much 
for delicate science experi- 
ments on board. 
To help, NASA recently 

Kokanee salmon spawn and then die young and ugly. Science c 
prevent them from spawning but not from dying on schedule. 
30 OMNI 

tested three stationary-bi- 
cycle systems, all designed 
to reduce vibrations; astro- 
nauts tested the bikes on 
STS-50 last summer, One 
design, the Ergometer Vibra- 
tion Isolation System (EVIS), 
used a system of motors 
to counterbalance the move- 
ments of a biking astronaut. 
A second vibration-killing 
design called for the astro- 
nauts to ride a stationary bike 
suspended in midair via a 
spider-web pattern of eight 
bungee cords. "It was an 

AND 79,000 FEET HIGH, 

interesting ride — pretty sta- 
ble actually," says Rick 
Connell, an engineer for Krug 
Life Sciences, the NASA 
contractor that developed 
the bikes. Connell rode the 
bike on a special airplane 
used to test experiments 
before they're run in space. 

Finally, the astronauts 
test-rode a stationary bike 
bolted to the shuttle's deck. 

The results are in on the 
first two designs: They 
each produced 10 times less 
vibration than the treadmill. 
In fact, sensors couldn't 
discern a difference between 
the vibrations produced 
by the bikes and by normal 
levels of shuttle activity. 

At press time, NASA 
planned to test a new bike 


How does a guy like George 
Burns get away with 
smoking cigars and chas- 
ing women when he's 
almost 100 years old? Prob- 
ably by laughing about 
it. While laughter has long 
been known to reduce 
tension and help lift spirits, 
recent studies suggest 
that humor may play a key 

combining the best features 
of EVIS and the bungee 
bike, on STS-60, scheduled 
fora November 1993 launch. 
— Devera Pine 


Awareness of substances 
that can contribute to ozone 
depletion has led most 
countries to ban chlorofluoro- 
carbons (CFCs) from spray 
cans, in which they served as 
propellants. While that's 
good news for the environ- 
ment, it's bad news for those 
partial to aerosol products, 
Gas propellants replaced 
CFCs in most aerosols, but 
they're highly flammable and 
lose their propulsion when 

role in keeping the body 
feeling good as well. 

In his latest study of 
immune-system responses, 
William Fry of Stanford 
University inserted catheters 
into the veins of medical 
students, drawing blood 
every few minutes while 
showing a videotape of the 
comedian Gallagher. Gal- 
lagher? "Some people find 
him very amusing," says 
Fry, a leading gelotologist — 
from the Greek gelos, 
meaning laughter. Those 
who did find Gallagher funny 
showed an increase in 
white-blood-cell activity, 
which is crucial infighting off 
bacteria, says Fry, who 
conducted his research with 
Lee Berk at the Loma Linda 
University Medical School, 

"Laughter has a profound 
and extensive physiological 
effect," Fry maintains. 
Yukking it up, he says, In- 

heart rate and 
circulation, stimulates the 
immune system, and even 
improves muscle tone. 
"Laughter is really enormous 
exercise, involving your 
face, abdomen, and legs." 
Fry claims that laughing 
heartily 100 times a day 
equals ten minutes on a 
rowing machine. It's also 
less dangerous. "We've had 
very few reports over trie 
years of people having heart 
attacks while laughing," Fry 
says.— Peter Callahan 

held sideways or upside 
down. Now Yves Privas, a 
French physical and chemi- 
cal engineer who worked 
for NASA on the lunar mod- 
ule's refrigeration system, 
has found a possible solution 
to the aerosol dilemma — 
an electronically controlled, 
nonpropellant spray device. 
Privas's device employs a 
fast-action pump, activated 
by a solenoid, that emits the 
spray A microprocessor 
programs the solenoid differ- 
ently for each type of product 
being sprayed. The same 
spray device can dispense 
products as varied as hair 
spray, paint, and perfume by 
simply replacing the polye- 
thylene container in which 
the product is housed. 

Rechargeable batteries sup- 
ply the power source. 

The device's performance 
is "superior to that of current 
spray products and less 




expensive in the long run, as 
the device only needs to 
be purchased once, and the 
products contained in the 
i inly ethylene containers cost 
less," Privas contends. A 
major household-products 
and cosmetics company has 
tested Privas's invention 
and plans to manufacture it 


The past 20 years have seen 
the development of an 
astonishing variety of E.'Nficial 
body parts: from plastic 
hips to Gore-Tex ligaments to 
Jarvik hearts. Now scientists 
in England have taken an 
important step toward devel- 
oping what may be the 
most fundamental manmade 
organ of them all: an artificial 

Geneticist Peter N. Good- 
fellow of Cambridge Univer- 
sity and his colleagues have 
moved a telomere — the 
structure at a chromosome's 
tip that keeps it from un- 
raveling — from the end of the 
long arm of an X chromo- 
some toward the center of 
the arm. Shifting the telomere 
in this manner creates a 
stricture that has only 
a middle part, called a cen- 
tromere, and a telomere, 
with no genes in between. 
The next step, currently 
under way, is to perform the 
same operation on the short 
arm of the chromosome. 
The resulting artificial chromo- 

some will be a sort of genetic 
blank cassette, ready— in 
theory, at least — for research- 
ers to insert and manipulate 
human genes. 

Goodfellow cautions that it 
could be a long way from 
theory to reality. "In effect," 
he says, "we already have 
the artificial chromosome. 
But the important thing is to 
be able to put the DNA we 
want in the chromosome 
and then find a way to move 
the chromosome from cell 
to cell." Goodfellow and his 
team are currently experi- 
menting with a number of 
ways to accomplish that feat 
and expect to know within 
a year or two whether their 
approaches will succeed. 

In the long term, Goodfel- 
low thinks, doctors could 
use artificial chromosomes 
as a sort of "delivery vehicle" 
for gene therapy, trans- 
porting healthy genes from 
cell to cell to correct 
disease-causing deficiencies. 
— Bill Lawren 

"Men tire themselves in 
pursuit of rest. " 

— Lawrence Sterne 

""" h"-'"j «j iiiuiiuiuuujio p. in nesuctiuriers nope ro one oay oe aoie 10 insert specialized urw\. 
the near future— Bruce Gain I like the computer-generated strand above, into artificial chromosomes. 



How do you keep a young 
woman relaxed during an 
unpleasant physical exam? 
Just turn on MTV. 

Psychologist Vaughn Rick- 
ert of the Arkansas Children's 
Hospital in Little Rock tried 
the technique on 30 females 
aged 13to 20 who were 
undergoing a colposcopy, in 
which a doctor looks into the 
vagina and cervix through 
a magnifying instrument. 
Understandably, this exam 
makes a lot of women 
anxious and fidgety, which 
only prolongs the exam. So 
Rickert taped a two-hour 
slice of MTV, showed it to 
patients during the examina- 
tion, and carefully charted 
their reactions. Those 
who got their MTV, he found, 
fidgeted less and needed 
less reassurance from their 
doctors than those who were 
examined without the videos. 

"Vanessa Williams had the 
most soothing effect," 
Rickert notes, "and Madonna 
was good, too." 

32 OMNI 

What if the patients are 
over 30 and MTV just makes 
them more nervous? "Try 
Crosby, Stills, and Nash," 
Rickert suggests, "or if 
they're my grandmother's 
age, try Lawrence Welk." 

— Bill Lawren 


A San Francisco company 

has developed a new 
hearing device perfect for 
those reluctant to wear 
a conventional hearing aid. 
ReSound's Earlens con- 
sists of three parts; A tiny 


I'rj'iscucer, about half the 
size of a contact lens, 
attaches to the eardrum with 
a drop of oil. A small 
microphone clips to the 
wearer's clothes, and 
a battery-powered coil con- 
verts the signal from the 
microphone to a magnetic 
field, which makes the 
transducer and the eardrum 
vibrate. Frog Design of Palo 
Alto, California, devised 
a loop for the Earlens, worn 
around the neck and 
shoulders, that incorporates 
the coil and battery; it's 
so well designed, says Re- 
Sound vice president of 
marketing Jack Giraux, thaf 
"you forget you have it on." 

ReSound has begun 
formal tests with 22 moderate 

ly heariro-moaired patients 
and hopes to gain Food 
and Drug Administration ap- 
proval for the Earlens 
sometime in 1995. Earlier, the 
company conducted in- 
formal tests with six hearing- 
impaired patients already 

■■.'vsarirc :he oes: hearing aid 
ReSound made. The consen- 
sus? "They all. commented 
on how pleasant it was to 
hear normal sounds without 
having to feel something in 
their ears," Giroux says. 

— Bill Lawren 


the ocean moves, yet 


currents are a major factor 

in understanding global 

Curtis Ebb-esmeyer's tennis 

warming and predicting the 

shoes will help predict 

weather," Says Ebbes- 

global warming. Call them 

meyer, who now wears a 

Nostradamus Nikes. 

pair of hightops that soaked 

When Seattle resident 

in seawater for' a year: 

Ebbesmeyer, who- calls 

Never before have scien- 

himself an "opportunistic 

tists-been able to follow the 

oceanographer," heard that 

trajectories of so many 

a shoe shipment had gone 

Toal'ng objects over such a 

overboard in May 1.990, 

large area of the' Pacific, 

southeast of the Alaska 

according to Ingraham. 

Peninsula, he asked beach- 

A planned' drift experiment ' 

combers on the Pacific 

of that' magnitude would 

Coast to pinpoint landing 

have cost hundreds 

sites and dates of the. 

of thousands of dollars. 

62,000 drifting shoes. He 

It took s:x months for the 

.then contacted James 

"Nikes to hit the Pacific 

Ingraham',. Jr., of- the 

Coast. Last spotted in 

National Oceanic and 

northern Hawaii, the shoes 

Atmospheric Administra- 

stlli adrift should eventually 

tion, who modeled the 

wash, ashore in Japan. 

spilled sneakers' paths, 

—Teresa Tsalaky 

verifying a computer 

simulation of prevailing A 

. / B^k^TTiese sneakers per-- 

ocean currents. fl 

: Ak 'DMBii VSfcaWe 

"We know extraor- ■ 

*-:w8^^C3&r:oarapi~:' : c 

dinarily little about how 


.. ■*! A Afl 

I '^p 

jL>. : "-\. 

: " L--"^^y 

' ■ .J?i-s~-Jk 


If vou don't find him, he'll 


liiid you 


Shooting Game ™ ** h AmOL 




.Mad Dug and his men have _ 

>vs, a hair-raising bank rubbery, 


CaU 1-800-758-HOME or visit your local retailer 



In the first study of its kind, 
French researchers have 
concluded that if you don't 
want to lose your marbles, 
you'd better use them. The 
scientists found ihat people 

in nonintellectual occupa- 
tions — particularly farm 
workers — face a much great- 
er risk of seniiily and 
other forms of cognitive im- 
pairment in old age than 
do ihose who hold intellect- 
ually demanding jobs. 

As part of a larger 
European research project to 
study the risk factors for 
dementia, neuroepidemiolo- 
ciist Jean-Francois Dariigues 
of the University of Bordeaux 
and his colleagues correlat- 
ed the level of intellectual 
functioning in 3,700 people 
over the age of 65 with their 
primary occupations. 


□artigues's group found 
".hat after adjusting for age, 
sex, and education level, 
former farm workers are 6.1 
times more likely to be 
mentally impaired than those 
in intellectual occupations — 
teachers, managers, lectur- 
ers, executives, and profes- 
sionals. The risk is 2.9 times 

greater for farm managers, 
2.8 times for domestic- 
service employees, and 2,5 
times for blue-collar workers. 

The study results held 
yet another surprise for Dar- 
tigues. He discovered 
that She subjects who per- 
formed the best on the 
mental tests were not those 
with the most education 
but rather "(hose people with 
little educalion but with 
an intellectual occupation." 

Dariigues and his co- 
workers first thought that non- 
ine 'actual workers might 
have performed more poorly 
in the study because many 
of them had undergone 
long-term exposure to vari- 
ous chemical solvents in 
their jobs. But upon further 
analysis, Dartigues says, 
"We could not find a rela- 
tionship between solvent 
exposure and cognitive 

—Paul McCarthy 



Is biotechnology about to 
render Gatorade obsolete? 

Interneuron, a biotech 
company based in Lexing- 
ton, Massachusetts, has 
developed a drink that 
it claims combats muscle 
fatigue. The beverage 
contains choline, a natural 
substance crucial to the 
synthesis of acetylcholine, a 
chemical released by nerve, 
cells that signals muscle 
cells to contract. In a recent 
study, ten long-distance 
runners who drank this 
lemon-flavored potion be- 
fore running shaved five 

minutes, on average, off 
their time on a 20-mile 
course. "Other sports drinks 
attempt to replace ele'ct'rcp 
lytes and sugars depleted 
as a result of exercise," 
says Interneuron vice presi- 
dent Bobby Sandage. 
"This drink is different be- 
cause it's specifically de- , 
signed to replenish choline." 

More than ten years 
ago, investigators at Johns 
Hopkins Medical School 
showed that the firing of 
nerves that cause muscles 
to contract depends upon 
the amount of choline avail- 
able to those nerves. In- 
terneuron researchers have 
shown that the choline levels 
in an athlete's blood drop 

after strenuous exercise. 
They have also shown that 
blood choline levels rise 
after an athlete drinks their 
beverage. However, the 
company has yet to demon- 

strate that muscle fatigue is 
actually caused by a choline 
or acetylcholine deficit. 
"We really can't measure 
acetylcholine levels in 
the synapse' — the- gap be- 
tween nerve and muscle 
cells," Sandage explains. 

Gary Wenk, a neuroscien- 
tist at the University of 
Arizona, suspects that the 
phenomenon of exhaustion 
involves more than just 
choline. "They've picked out 
choline as. (he chemical 
system to look at. But what 
about all the other things — 
nutrients and amino acids 
that become depleted 
during exercise— that 
they're not looking at?" 

— Steve Nad is 

Brani W$Smm$W^i m 1111 

ceutca.s. "Medicine isn't what it was," 
says Michael Wilkes, a professor of med- 
icine at UCLA. "In the past, people did 
research and had high ethical stand- 
ards. Today, everybody is hoping to 
make big money." 

An elite class of science superstars 
now possess unprecedented power. 
Ths - presence on a faculty can propel 
a second-tier institution to the front 
ranks— and enable the university to 
lure megabucks benefactors. It's no long- 
er unusual tor supernovas such as ge- 
neticist Leroy Hood to negotiate- a $12 
million package over dinner with Ssav.le- 
based billionaire software magnate Wil- 
liam Gates III to relocate his laboratory 
from Caltech to the University of Wash- 
ington, like a Heisman Trophy winner 
dickering over salary and perks. 

At the same time that researchers 
were forming partnerships with big busi- 
ness, government oversight agencies 
like the Food and Drug Administration 
(FDA) and the NIH have been gutted 
and politicized after 12 years of not-so- 
benign neglect. They have 
been lax in cracking down 
on shady scientists, hobbled 
by a lack of resources, and 
outilanked by the vastly su- 
perior forces of the multibil- 
lion-dollar drug industry 
they're entrusted to police. 

"It's getting harder and 
harder to find a government 
agency that stands for any- 
'hing." : says George J, An- 
nas, director of the Law, Med- 
icine, and Ethics program at 

the Boston University 
Schools of Medicine and Public 
Health. A three-year inquiry conducted 
by the late Ted Weiss, a New York 
congressman, charged that public 
health was "endangered" because the 
NIH did too little to keep conflicts of in- 
terest and fraud from infecting the re- 
search it funds. Yet the Bush White 
House, under pressure from the drug 
industry, squelched a package of con- 
flict-of-interest regulators desgred to 
discourage misuse of federal grants. 

Today, biomedical research has be- 
come an entirely too incestuous proc- 
ess. "The iron trianc,c- of govern'"'" en:, 
industry, and academia constitutes a mu- 
tually reinforcing system of self-interest 
that brings to a close an important pe- 
riod of independence for basic re- 
search," says Sheldon Krimsky, chair of 
the department of urban and environ- 
mental policy at Tufts University in 
Medford, Massachusetts. 

Rarely do the interests of the public 
enter into this cozy equation. "The 
labs and the drug companies are ro- 
mancing one another, cutting sweet- 

38 OMNI 

"lean agresmer.s and , : ng To iaxpay 
er," said Representative Ron Wyden. 
But it is taxpayers who pick up the tab 
and often pay twice: by bankrolling fed- 
erally funded research and by paying 
exorbitant prices for therapies formulat- 
ed at taxpayer expense. 

In fact, the federal government is the 
mainstay of the nation's giant biomedi- 
cal research establishment and 
pumped more than $12 billion into 
health-related R&D in 1993, About $3 
billion of this money is spent in govern- 
ment labs. But the vast majority of fed- 
eral monies is doled out to universities 
and private, nonprofit laboratories like 
Scripps, according to a report by Con- 
gress'^ Olfioe of lechro'ogy Assess- 
ment (OTA). These funds not only sup- 
port scientists, but they also pay for 
much of the infrastructure of the labo- 
ratories at American universities. 

The pharmaceutical industry 
spends about $12 billion each year on 
research, but a recent Senate probe re- 
vealae that it spends far more on pro- 






motion than on devising row Therapies 
Of the $67 billion consumers shelled but 
for prescription drugs in 1990, 35 per- 
cent was pumped into marketing and 
profits while only 16 percent went to 
drug development, 

And very little mat's innovative emerg- 
es from our corporate labs. Mos: phar- 
maceutical research is geared toward 
formulating "me too" or copycat prod- 
ucts to compete with rivals rather than 
genuinely new drugs tnat advance med- 
ca. treatment. Of the 348 drugs intro- 
duced by the 25 largest pharmaceuti- 
cals between 1981 and 1988, only 12— 
or 3 percent — were deemed important 
therapeutic advances by the FDA, ac- 
cording to a 1989 report by the Senate 
Aging Committee staff. Another 44, or 
13 percent, had "modest" potential for 
gains. The vast majority — 84 percent — 
were seen as having little or no poten- 
tial for advances in treatment. 

In stark contrast, 70 percent of the 
drugs that have a substantial therapeu- 
tic gain are' produced with government 
( involvement, and up to half of the most 

promising AIDS and cancer drugs are 
concocted in government or university 
labs. "We hear a lot about the indus- 
try's unsurpassed innovation and glob- 
al competitiveness," says Peter Arno, a 
health economist at Albert Einstein Col- 
lege of Medicine and th'e Montefiore 
Medical Center in New York and coau- 
thor of Against the Odds, about AIDS 
drug development. "The facts beyond 
the rhetoric are very different. It is not 
competitive brilliance but government- 
granted monopolies that accounts for 
much of the industry's profitability." 

Even more disturbing is a 1 990 G/'-O 
report which found that 51 percent of 
FDA-approved drugs have serious 
postapproval risks and could cause ad- 
verse reactions that lead to severe or 
permanent disability or death, Yet 
drug prices escalated at four times the 
Inflation rate in 1992. Americans are pay- 
ing top dollar for treatments whose ef- 
fects are negligible or even harmful. 

These alarming trends have 
sparked Congressional inquiries and 
raised troubling questions 
about the future of U.S. bi- 
omedical research. "All we re- 
ceive in return for the extrav- 
agant ".ax oreaks we give to 
the drug industry," charged 
Senator David Pryor, who is 
call ng 'or a cap on drug pric- 
es, "is the highest medica- 
tion prices in the industrial- 
ized world." 

The innovation and bold- 
ness of vision that made 
American biomedical re- 
search second to none 
seems to have been lost. What went 
wrong? The problem started, say crit- 
ics, at the beginning of the drug-devel- 
opment pipeline: The once pristine sci- 
entific laboratory, where sciertis:s de- 
ciphered the root causes of disease, 
has become a hotbed of commerce. 

The seminal event that ushered in 
this new era was the 1980 Bayh-Dole 
Act, which was augmented by later leg- 
islation. This bill gave universites the 
rights to the patents on federally fund- 
ed research conducted on their cam- 
puses, which enabled schools to attract 
corpc -■:■] le dollars in exchange for exclu- 
sive li-cors ng agreements on all discov- 
eries made under a company's spon- 
sorship. A 1986 law permitted govern- 
ment researchers to cut simila' deals, 
known as CRADAs (Cooperative Re- 
ssarcn and Development Agreements). 
Congress also gave corporations tax 
credits for investing in university re- 
search as an incentive to boost R&D 
spending, plus a 50-percent tax credit 
for expenses related to formula- ng so- 
called "orphan drugs" for diseases af- 


In trie late 1950s, National Cancer Institute (NCI) researchers 
scoured the globe hunting lor substances in nature's pharmacopoeia 
thaL curbed the wild cell growth ol cancer. J 

ni, derived irom the 

barkof Pacific-yew trees, was one-of thousands of com- 
pounds tested on animals in government labs. It 
didn't seem to half cancer, so it remained a laborato- 
ry curiosity" until 1979 when scientists delected the 
unique way taxol kills cells: 

Another decade would pass, however, before re- 
searchers found a way to dispense taxoi, which is Com- 
posed of an almost insoluble molecule. Then, in 1989, 
a Johns Hopkins team, in a test of women with ad- 
vanced ovarian cancer, made a startling discovery 
that electrified biomedicihe. In 30 percent of the pa- 
tients, all of whom had only months to live, :axo 
shrank their tumors by more than half. Subsequent stud- 
ies revealed the compound-was equally promising in 
combating advanced breast and iung cancer, 

Scientists' were ecstatic, hailing taxol as the most 
significant new cancer drug in 15 years. Wall Street 
analysts predicted the potential worldwide market 
could top $800 million annually. The NCI,. which has 
spent $32 millionso far bringing the blockbuster drug 
from the test tube through much of the FDA approval 
process; im : s Tom drug mak- 

ers to participate in a Cooperative. Research and 
Development Agreed-en: (CRADA) for the commercial 
marketing of taxol. 

Applicants were given just 45 days to respond. Of 
the (our companies lhat made the deadline, the NCI 
selected Brislol-Mye's Squibb (SMS). BMSwas award- 
ed'exclusive rights to harvest Pacific yews on federal 
forest land, then the only source of taxol, and monopo- 
ly control over the data from federally funded research, 
including about 30 trials on different types of cancer. 

BMS pays no royalties on taxol sales and a pittance 
for the rights to. the yew tree bark. In exchange, the 
company agreed to a fair-pricing clause. Yet once tax- 
ol won FDA approval, BMS set the drug's wholesale 
prices at $1,000 per treatment — roughly eight times 

what it cost NC- -esearcners lo syn'hesize taxol. BMS 
■claimed the cost was. based on its "huge" $114 mil- 
lion investment in the development of taxol. 

But when Congressional investigates oressed le- 
an accounting of where all this money was spent, the 
company threatened to avoid future collaborations. Ron 
Wyden (D-Ohio), who headed this probe, was'out- 
■■agec. "American consumers who have funded drug 
development through the gift of corporate tax. Gredits 
and federal lab research should not be bludgeoned 
by price gouging," he lectured BMS executives. 

NCI officials blame their failure to control taxol's 
price on BMS's refusal to furnish 'its development 
costs; BUt James P. Love, director of the Taxpayer As- 
sets Project of the Center for Study of'Responsive Law, 
a consumer. group founded by Ralpn Nader, thinks the 
"taxol giveaway" is a case study in bureaucratic neg- 
ligence. "While NCI is not run by rocket scientists," 
says Love, "a child with a fourth-grade education and 
■a pencil and paper could have easily estimated BMS's 
development and manufacturing costs from a review 
of publicly available documents from Security and Ex- 
change Commission filings," 

Love also' contends that such short notice for the 
submission of proposals for the taxol CRADA virtually 
guaranteed that BMS, "the NCI's favorite partner in 
drug development," would be the winner. Government 
■officials stoutly deny any improprieties, however. 

But it's no secret BMS enjoys a' cozy relationship 
with the NCI. in fact, the company has built a multib til ion- 
dollar oncology empire market ng ten oner anticancer 
drugs invented th-ouon laxoayer-funded research, in- 
cluding cisplatin, carboplatin, carmustine, and lomus- 
tirre. "This has produced desirable results," says Ste- 
ve Jennings, an aide to Wyden, "but it also creates a 
.close, symbiotic, codependency relationship like the 
one- between the military and defense contractors." 

fiicting iess {nan ZJC.GGO patients. Ac- 
cording to a 1993 OTA report, drug com- 
panies claimed $1.4 billion in credits 
against their federal income taxes in 
' 987 (the most recent year for which fig- 
ures were available). The rationale be- 
hind tnese laws was to ensure thai break- 
throughs resulting from academic re- 
search would be quickly translated inic 
marketable products. 

"Collaborations between academia 


\a< for tne St.icy of Drug rJevelopme-r 
at Tufts University in Boston. The aca- 
demic science community has always 
been part of a commercial network. But 
these new laws accelerated the proc- 
ess. In the early Eighties, drug makers 
and venture capitalists swarmed over 
campuses dangling money and stock 
opl.ons like baseoall scouts cruising the 

mino's for talent. 

Technology transfer, however, 
turned into a free lunch for private cor- 
pora Ions. ■ "he Bayh-Dole Act was a wa- 
tershed disaster . , . which eroded the 
pun ic s ownership or control over import- 
ant technology," charged Ralph Nad- 
er in testimony before Congress. "This 
Act . . . increased the private monopoly 
power of companies who sell these re- 
; back to the citizens who paid 

for them in the first place." 

The agreements, like the deal be- 
tween Scripps and Sandoz, allow drug 
makers to skim the cream off the top of 
university research without paying sci- 
entists' salaries and other overhead 
costs like buildings, support staff, and 
libraries. "Essentially, tins privatized the 
whole research enterprise," says 
David Noble, a professor of history at 
York University in Toronto and a found- 
er of the National Coalition for Univer- 
sities in the Public Interest. "And to add 
insult to injury, all deals made under 
Bayh-Dole are secret. The public is de- 
nied even knowledge ot it, much less 
scrutiny or oversight." 

As the Scripps-Sandoz contract was 
originally conceptualized, academic 
scientist would have became "inden- 
tured scholars to a single corporate en- 
tity," says Tufts professor Krimsky. A 
1992 study revealed that of about 800 
biotechnology faculty members, 47 per- 
cent consulted with industry; the aver- 
age moonlighter earns about $5,000 an- 
nually, but superstars can net $33,000 
a year for a few hours' work. Nearly 25 
percent of these academicians re- 
Oeived industry-supported grants or con- 
tracts, and 8 percent owned equity in 
a company whose products were relat- 
ed to their research, Most notable 

among these are Harvard AIDS 
eis W lliam Haseltine and Max issex. 
both of whom own a hefty slice of Cam- 
bridge BioScience, a Boston-based bi- 
otech thai makes, among other things, 
an AIDS antibody test, 

These alliances have a chilling effect 
on research, which often gets skewed 
tcwaro the nterest of the corporate pa- 
trons. There's been an increase in mis- 
sion-oriented research — applied as op- 
posed to basic studies — because com- 
panies rarely encourage fishing expe- 
ditions. "The whole culture is now 
geared toward investing in research 
that has a quick payoff rather than learn- 
ing something new that might yield re- 
wards in the long "emi " says Boston Uni- 
versity's Annas. 

But some of the greatest break- 
throughs, like penicillin, are serendipi- 
tous. A 1976 study of the origins of ten 
important clinical advances in the pre- 
vious 30 years revealed that key discov- 
eries were uncovered almost twice as 
often through basic research than 
through goal-directed research. 

Scientists bound by corporate con- 
tracts are also expected to safeguard 
trade secrets, with data dispensed to 
colleagues on a "need to know" basis. 
But this stanches the free exchange of 
information that is the lifeblood of the 

scientnc process and creates artificial 
divisions between faculty. Indeed, re- 
lations have soured bev.veen processors 
who have joined the gold rush and 
those who haven't. Friends have be- 
come enemies. Experiments and lab re- 
frigerators are now routinely locked up 
to protect proprietary secrets. As one 
scientist cyncally specula:ed in Nature, 
the science journal, perhaps the single 
greatest danger to mankind from bio- 
technology is the escape of the "venal- 
ity gene" on campus. 

Thecross-pollmaton pehveengovo'n- 
ment and industry has also triggered a 
serious brain drain at the NIH. So many 
top scientists have either entered into 
cooperative agreements, or CRADAs, 
or simply left to launch their own com- 
panies that the iuture ot basic re- 
search — and by defmt.cn. biomeo' one 
itself — could be in grave jeopardy. 

The first of these CRADA partner- 
ships was signed in April of 1988 be- 
tween Genetic Therapy (GTI), a tiny start- 
up in Gaithersburg. Maryland, and the 
NIH's W. French Anderson, the gene- 
therapy pioneer. In exchange tor a 
quick infusion of $2.5 million, which for- 
tuitously enabled Anderson to double 
the size of his lab at a critical juncture 
in his research, GTI got exc usive 
rig'iis l.e 'ieense snytning developed dur- 
ing.the collaboration. That means the 
marketing rights to the astonishng gere- 
therapy techniques Anderson has 
s nee devised belong to GTI — not to the 
iaxpcjyors who paid Anderson's salary 
and provided him with a laboratory for 
more than 25 years. 

Since then, the NIH has entered into 
approximately 250 of these arrange- 
ments, and dozens more are in the 
works. Yet the NIH's track record of 
protecting the public's interest when cut- 
ting technology-transfer deals with 
companies is abysmal. Many break- 
through therapeutics rven:ed at the pub- 
lic's expense are sold to drug compa- 
nies — which are often- granted monop- 
olies as an incentive to market :nese 
drugs — for nothing or at bargain-base- 
ment prices. 

How AZT, first formulated in the 
1960s by researchers on grants from 
the National Cancer Institute (NCI), o.ne 
of the institutes that comprise the NIH, 
was transformed from a useless chemo- 
therapy into a billion-dollar AIDS won- 
der drug is a good example. When sci- 
entists at Burroughs Wellcome, a Brit- 
ish pharmaceutical, discovered that 
AZT thwarted the AIDS-causing HIV vi- 
rus in the test tube, Samuel Broder, 
then associate director of the NCI, 
used the substantial resources of his 
agency to speed the FDA approval of 
this potentially life-saving drug. 

Once AZT passed ■ec;.il-.io-y -"ustei- 
in January .of 1987, however, the key 
role played by NCI scientists, who may 
have naively assumed credit would be 
shared, was iorgotten. Burroughs 
Weltcome has since made $1.4 billion 
from AZT, but the American public has 
never received a dime in royalties, 
When the drug maker initially slapped 
a $10,000 annual price tag per patient 
on the potentially life-saving drug, 
AIDS activists were enraged. 

Over at ihc Nat onal Cancer Institute, 
the' scientists who helped develop AZT 
as an anti-AIDS drug felt betrayed. "The 
position of the Burroughs Wellccmo Com- 
pany would appear to be thai AZT was 
developed within the company with lit- 
tle substantive contribution by others," 
wrote Samuel Broder in a 1987 letter to 
Burroughs Wellcome. "Your position sad- 
dens me and my colleagues at the Na- 
tional Cancer Institute . . . and I was 
(and remain) extremely disappointed by 
this turn of events." 

The entangled financial web be- 
tween government, industry, and aci- 
demia also fosters conflicts of interest. 
This is particularly problematic when 
companies are testing the safety and 
efficacy of treatments n preparation for 
getting FDA approval to commercially 
market a compound. Typically, drug 

makers have their own network of prin- 
cipal investigators (Pis), scientists, and 
doctors at cacirc, medical schools 
around the country who conduct the clin- 
ical trials. Pis are compensated for 
■heir work, and their academic institu- 
tions receive a stipend to cover over- 
head costs for the trials. 

But scientists' oojeeliv ly is called in- 
to question, says health economist Ar- 
no, "when they have a financial inter- 
est in the outcome." One of the most 
flagrant examples of this was Retin-A 
the acne medication touted by Orfho. 
a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, as 
a wonder drug that could erase wrin- 
kles. After an adelc apoeared in the Jan- 
uary 1988 issue of the Journal of the 
American Meci:cs: Association, demand 
for the antiaging elixir skyrocketed — 
nearly 1 million tuoos were sold in Feb- 
ruary of 1988 alone. However, govern- 
ment scientists never cu plicated the re- 
sults of the original study. In the interim, 
the Raritan, New Jersey-based Ortho. 
made millions 

Ofcou r se, scientists bhstleal ■.tic sug- 
gestion that their corporate : es may in- 
fluence their findings. "It certainly rais- 
es flags." says Tuft's Kenneth Kaitin, 
"but you can receive industry funding 
and not have it bias your results." But 
when a company pays 10 to 20 percent 

of researchers' ;ncc"&s. along with st- 
able honorariums to their jniversil cs fc 
the use of their facilities, it's tempting 
to put a positive spin on raw data, 
which are often ambiguous. 

'The drug industry is more likely to 
continue pumping money to those 
wnose resi, ts snow that a compound 
is safe and effective than those who 
don't," says Dr. Sidney Wolfe, head of 
Public Citizen's Health Research 
Group, a consumer-research organiza- 
tion. "Hundreds of people have been 
killed and thousands injured because 
data have been falsified or withheld." 
The FDA. the final checkpoint in the 
drug-development pipeline, still oper- 
ates on the honor system and assumes 
companies act ethically in collecting 
and repciling test results But the hon- 
or system is a relic of a bygone era 
when staggering sums weren't riding on 
the results. In 1990 dollars, acceding 
to the OTA, it cost $194 million to 
make a drug from scratch and shep- 
herd it through the FDA approval proc- 
ess in the 1980s; in 1969, the cost was 
SS5 million. The fact that it's in a com- 
pany's interest for its products to be 
safe and effective is the built-in far- 
safe. A bad drug could trigger more 
than ust a costly pub : c-relations dis- 
aster: pecoles nealth- -even their lives- 
might be at stake. 

But if a company intentionally de- 
ceives the FDA. it is virtually impossi- 
ble to ferret out the truth unless a whis- 
tle blower comes : orward with the smok- 
ing gun — which is how the serious 
health problems caused by siiicone- 
gel breast implants finally came to 
qht allot more than a decade of cover- 
jps. With 150,000 women getting im- 
plants each year at anywhere from 
$1,000 to $5,000 for each operation, 
breast implants generated $450 million 
a year for the nation's plastic surgeons— 
and nobody wanted to jeopardize this 
lucrative cash cow. In 1992, however; 
FDA commissioner F)avid Kc-ssler, in the 
face of intense pressure by lobbying 
groups, was able to declare a morato- 
rium on the unrestricted sale of silicone- 
ge' b-esst ir— plants. (Since implants had 
been on the market for more than 30 
years, they escaped federal scrutiny un- 
der new rules enacted in 1976 regard- 
ing medical devices,) 

Then. conliGcnt.al corporate ™e-"-os. 
seme dating back to the mid 1970s, sur- 
faced during product-liability suits. The 
documents revealed Dow Corning, a 
Micnigan-based company who made 
some of the implants, failed to disclose 
its own scientists' concerns that the im- 
plants leaked and ruptured. "I have pro- 
oc'-cc again and again that we must be- 
gin in-depth study of our gel, envelope, 


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and bleed phenomenon," wrote re- 
searcher A, H. Rathjen in 1976. Seven 
years later, William Boley, another Daw 
scientist, warned about the lack of "val- 
id ong-ter^ data to substantiate the safe- 
ty of gels for long-term implant use." 

The ensuing scandal underscored 
the fact that the FDA. which does not 
have the power to' subpoena company 
records, has no legal clout and is too 
short-handed to catch all but the most 
flagrant abuses. "Staffing deterio.-atec 
during the 1980s and appropriations 
were frozen," says Mike Kubic, an FDA 
spokesperson. "Yet during the same 
time, Congress passed more than a doz- 
en laws that increased the FDA's man- 
dated workload. So we were getting 
less money to do more work." 

But changes are on the horizon. Con- 
gress recently permitted the FDA to levy 
usors fees and require drug companies 
to ante up $75 million a year, which 
will allow the agency to hire 620 new 
drug reviewers over the next 5 years. 
In exchange, the agency has pledged 
to cut drug-approval time from more 
than two years to 12 months— which 
wil save tne pna-mace-.iiical industry mil- 
lions. The FDA is performing more in- 
tensive audits of drug tests. To make it 
easer lor ". , yn.ifacti..rcrs and health pro- 
fessionals to report problems, the FDA 

also launched Mcdwa'cn, a postap- 
proval surveillance orce/an-. 

Commisaicie' Kessle- is also recuest- 
ing that Congress give the FDA more 
srfc'-cemeru powers, ensb ing the agen- 
cy to seize corporate documents or 
pull drugs from the market and to re- 
place the honor system with a network 
of federally supported drug testers who 
have no ties to drug companies, "The 
control of testing should not be in the 
hands of industry," says Woffe. "It is an 
Impossible conflict of interest that has 
been abused so many times." 

The more prestigious medical publi- 
cations, like the Journal of the Ameri- 
can Medical Association and the New 
England Journal of Medicine, now de- 
tai. researchers' financial ties in order 
to alert readers to any possible bias. 
Many universities have adopted strict 
gu del nes requiring scientists to dis- 
pose all financial arrangements, includ- 
ing stock holdings and sources of out- 
side income. FDA and NIH officials are 
press ng for the adoption of similar fed- 
eral regulations. 

In the wake of the Scripps-Sandoz 
contract, the NIH has convened a task 
force to formulate more stringent rules 
f or these collabe'a.ivc ay -cements. Law- 
makers like Representative Ron 
Wyden and Senator David Pryor are al- 

so probing drug profiteering and the al- 
liances ockvser academia and indcis- 
fy "VVnal roa.ly astoundec ..is was 
that Scripps could make deals without 
the consent of its principal funder, the 
NIH," says Steve Jenr ncs s:a- ; direc- 
tor of the Congressional subcommittee 
Ron Wyden chairs. "We're pushing for 
more disclosure. A little sunshine can 
be a great disinfectant." 

But perhaps the best nope for the fu- 
ture rests with the vast majority of sci- 
entists who haven't forgotten :nai .-■-:- 
goal of biomedical research is to heal 
the sick and prevent disease — not line 
then own peckers. Like Manuel Patar- 
royo, the Colombian immunologist who 
formulated a malaria vaccine. Last May 
rather than getting eniangled in lengthy 
licensing negotiations that could delay 
distribution of this life-saving vaccine. 
Patarroyo donated the patent nghts— 
which could be worth millions — tc the 
United Nations' World Health Organiza- 
tion. His gesture, he. said, was "a gift 
to mankind from the' Colombian peo- 
ple," Not everyone, however, appreci- 
ated his gesture. Since announcing his 
intention to give away the vaccine. Fatar- 
royo has received death threats. Un- 
abashed, he continues to work on a vac- 
cine for tuberculosis which he hopes 
will be available this year DO 




^•Article by Daniel Voll ' Photograph by Alan Weisskopf^- 

The Nobel laureate who 40 
years ago codiscovered ihe 
double-helix structure of 
DNA — the master molecule 
that contains the genetic 
code — is in his office over- 
looking the Pacific Ocean at 
the Salk Institute in La Jolla, 
California. Francis Crick is 
studying a postcard repro- 
duction of William Blake's 
famous etching of Isaac New- 
ton in-which the great scien- 
tist is depicted naked, sit- 
ting in' a cleft of rock. New- 
ton is bent with his compass 
in hand, trying — rationally — 
to decipher the mysteries of 
our universe. 

It was Blake, the eight- 
eenth-century poet and art- 
ist, who warned-that scien- 
tists, in trying to decipher 
lhat which should remain in- 
decipherable, would "turn 
that which is Soul & Life into 
a Mill or Machine." 

If Blake were alive today, 
it seems a fair bet that 
Crick, and his new book The 
Astonishing Hypothesis: The 
Scientific Search for the 
Soui, would surely provoke 
his ire. In the book, Crick, 
now 77, baldly sets out to dis- 
cover whether what we com- 
monly regard as soul or con- 
sciousness is actually a ma 

chine, a neural machine. 
And he implores the scientif- 
ic community to tackle "the 
experimental study of con- 
sciousness and its relation- 
ship, if any, to the hypotheti- 
cal immortal soul." 

Crick's "astonishing hypoth- 
esis" declares that 'all of our 
interior states, joys and sor- 
rows, our memories and am- 
bitions, even our personal 
identity and the cherished no- 
tion of free will, are "no 
more than the behavior of a 
vast assembly of nerve 
cells." And with an audacity 
that Blake would have found- 
hererica:, Crick also cams to 

have located the seat of 
free will inside the brain. 

The desire to map what 
we call consciousness— 
what Crick also calls aware- 
ness — is not new. But with 
the publication of his book, 
Crick, one of the fiercest re- 
ductionists in science, has 
joined one of the hottest sci- 
entific debates of the dec- 
ade. And his views, he ad- 
mits, are a "head-on contra- 
diction to the religious beliefs 
of billions of human beings 
alive today." 

Crick comes to the con- 
sciousness wars armed, of 
course, with impressive 




credentials. However, al the' age of 31. 
when Crick, having spent the war 
years designing mines to blow up Ger- 
man merchant ships, took stock of his 
scientific credentials, he found himself 
with, a "not-very-good degree," re- 
deemed somewhat by his achieve- 
ments at the Admiralty. "No published 
papers at all," he says. 

Determined to get work in England's 
postwar science boom, he applied his 
gossip lest" to his own life. Crick's gos- 
sic ".est says iha: the things you are talk- 
ing and thinking about, you. should go 
to work on. The two subjects which he 
settled on in 1947 for his life's work 
' touched on problems which, in many cir- 
cles, seemed beyond the power of sci- 
ence to explain. "What attracted me to 
them was that each contained a major 
mystery— the mystery of life and the mys- 
tery of conscio.usness. I wanted to 
know what, in scientific terms, those 
mysteries were." Six years later, he and 
James Watson had d s covered the struc- 
ture of DNA, widely regarded as the 

most important biological 

discovery of the twentieth cen- 
tury, earning them both a 
share ot the prestigious Nc 
bel Prize in medicine. Fifteen' 
years ago. after arriving at 
the Salk Institute. Crick 
turned his attention to the 
study of the second subject 
which he had chosen to inves- 
tigate in 1947, the mystery of 

us, but "to grasp the nature of the hu- 
man soul." Whether this term is meta- 
phorical or literal is exactly what Crick 
is trying to discover. 

Unlike dualists, such as neuroscien- 
tist Sir John Eccles, who believe in the 
"ghost in the machine," Crick doubts 
whether there is any need for a spiritu- 
al concept of a soul to explain behav- 
ior. Religion, he claims, is "based on ev- 
idence which by scientific standards is 
so flimsy that only an act of blind faith 
makes it acceptable." In fact, he sug- 
gests, raising his white, prominent eye- 
brows that give him a devilish air, "if the 
members of a church really believe in 
a life after death, why do they not con- 
duct sound experiments to establish ;'?" 

The only way to understand what we 
regard as the soul, Crick argues, is to 
understand how nerve cells in the 
brain behave and interact. But with 
100,000 neurons beneath every 
square millimeter of the brain's cortical 
sheet, and with the human cortex con- 
taining some tens of billions df neu- 

"What is the neural basis 
of consciousness?" he 
asks. "That's the problem. Ob- 
viously, it's very mysterious." Bui peo- 
ple have forgotten. Crick reminds us, 
how mysterious the nature of genes ap- 
peared as late as 1943. Molecular bi- 
ology, at the time, was considered a slop- 
py field. "The phrase Watson uses is 'in- 
tellectual chaos.' That is exactly the 
state of our ideas of the brain — intellec- 
tual chaos. Lots oi ideas rumbling 
around but nothing- very clear. People 
arguing about things that will probably 
turn out to be pretty fatuous eventually — 
it's just chaotic." 

To Crick, the key to understanding 
the mystery we call the soul does not 
lie in religion, philosophy, or psycholo- 
gy, but in neurons. Most current ideas 
about the brain, he argues, will not sur- 
vive a detailed understanding of how it 
works; the idea of a soul or mind sepa- 
rate from the brain and not penetrable 
by our known scientific laws is proba- 
bly an outdated myth, he says.- Looked 
al in the perspective of human history, 
he argues, the main object of scientific 
research on the brain is not merely to 
understand and cure what may afflict 




rons — compilable !o all ine stars in our 
galaxy — how does Crick suggest .scien- 
tists go about this? 

Experimentation on the Jiving human 
brain vis limited by ethical considera- 
tions, "Most people do not object to an 
experimenter fixing electrodes to their 
scalp in order to study tfieir brain 
waves," Crick says, "but they do object 
to having a portion of their skull re- 
moved, even temporarily, so that elec- 
trodes can be stuck directly into living 
brain tissue." Crick .suggests an alter- 
native strategy, which seems, at first 
glance, deceptively simple, ft you 
want to learn how consciousness 
works, concentrate your research on 
the visual system — on how we see. 
That our eyes are the windows to our 
soul is not just an aphorism to Crick. 

"Visual awareness is an example of 
consciousness," Crick says, and as if 
to underscore his point, ayellow-and- 
blue hang glider drifts into view outside 
his office window, swooping and diving 
above the Pacific. He leans forward. 
■■"We have a very vivid picture of the 

world. The question is how that is pro- 
duced in the brain." 

Visual perception combines attention 
with short-term memory, but by stand- 
ards of exact sciences, Crick points out, 
we don't know how our brains produce 
the visual awareness that we take so 
much for granted. We can glimpse frag- 
ments of the processes involved — the 
way the eye responds to light — but we 
lack both the detailed information and 
the ideas to answer the most simple 
questions: How do we see color? What 
is happening when we recall the image 
of a familiar face? 

Although the main function of the vi- 
sual system is to perceive objects and 
events around us, the information avail- 
able to our eyes "is not sufficient by it- 
self to provide the brain with its unique 
nterpretation of the visual world." In a 
recent special issue of Scientific Amer- 
ican devoted to the mind and brain, 
Crick and his collaborator for the past 
several years, Christof Koch, a compu- 
tation and neural-systems' specialist 
from'the California Institute of 
Technology, speculated on 
how the brain uses past ex- 
perience — "either its own or 
that of our distant ancestors, 
which is embedded in our 
genes" — to help interpret the 
information coming into our 
eyes,."Your eyes — or we will 
say — your brain," they 
wrote, "must find the best 
interpretation of visual sym- 
bols in the light of its past 
experience. Thus, what the . 
brain has to build up is a 
many-level interpretation of the visual 
scene, usually in terms of objects and 
events and their meaning to us." 

Crick suspects that visual aware- 
ness — and perhaps consciousness it- 
self—involves the cortex and also the 
thalamus, which he calls the "organ of 
attention." All senses (except smell) 
have to pass through the thalamus, the 
gateway to the cortex. Consciousness, 
Crick says, depends "crucially on tha- 
lamic connections with the cortex." 

The cortex consists of two separate 
sheets of nerve cells, one on each 
side of the head. These cortical sheets 
are, in Crick's words, "about the size of 
a man's handkerchief" and are folded 
so as to fit on either side of the skull. 
Often referred to as gray matter, the cor- 
tex consists mainly of neurons or nerve 
cells, which are electrical and chemi- 
cal signalers. 

The job of a neuron is to receive in- 
formation, usually in the form of electri- 
cal pulses, from other neurons. Some 
of these connections are local — they on- 
ly go a fraction of a millimeter, or at 

Astonishing Hypothesis: "Let's face it; at this point my hy- 
pothesis is just that — a hypothesis. But then so is religion. 
I don't know the answer. It may turn out that the point of 
view I take will be shown to be wrong. That's one of the 
risks: Your idea may be wrong. Whatever is discovered 
about the brain in the. future, however, won't be very 
supportive of people's religious beliefs." 

Society: "We are an evolving society, and science is 
the catalyst, for better or worse, and we have to constant- 
ly adapt. How are people going to relate to all this new 
knowledge? It's difficult enough for doctors to keep up 
with the advances in medicine. The nature of whatever 
we are trained to do is going to change in our lifetime — 
whether you're a mechanic or a doctor." 

Theory: "Keep your ideas as fluid as you can; concen- 
trate on key questions. Otherwise, it gets too chaotic. It's 
no use going into an area with a fixed set of ideas. You 
have to keep a- constant state of vigilance. It's part of 
your stock in trade not only to have ideas, but to have a 
continual assessment of how much you think each one is 
worth. It's like investing: You 
have to adjust your portfolio, 
and you can't expect all your in- 
vestments to pay off." 

Dogma: "Obviously a disbe- 
lief in religious dogma was a 
very deep part of my nature. I 
had always appreciated that the 
scientific way of life, like the re- 
ligious one, needed a high de- 
gree of dedication and that one 
could not be dedicated to any- 
thing unless one believes in it 

The Prize Discovery, 1953: 
"Talk is mainly what Watson and 
I did. You might say we didn't 
do anything but talk. Oh, we did 
a little'model building toward the end, but mainly it was 
discussing how you go about the problem. Certainly in 
crystallography we learned from others, but often we 
taught ourselves, hot always correctly, of course. Had Jim 
Watson been killed by a tennis ball, I'm not sure I would 
have discovered DNA alone. When I was younger, I was 
indefatigable. I remember people like Watson telling me 
to shut up." 

Christmas: "I was tired of Christmas trees, so my son 
Michael made a giraffe about six feet high, with chicken 
wire and papier-mache, and then we painted it. Instead 
of Christmas, I think our culture should celebrate New- 
ton's birthday, which is also the twenty-fifth of December. 
If we're going to celebrate the winter solstice — which is 
what Christmas is — we might just as well tie it to some- 
body modern rather than somebody . . . Not everybody 
enjoys these myths." 

Brain: "There is one fact about the brain that is so ob- 
vious, it Is seldom mentioned: It is attached to the rest of 
the body and communicates with it." 

Postmodern World: "When I go to visit my grandchil- 



dren, I cannot understand what they are saying. My son 
produces computer games, and one of the titles is 
Dudes with Attitude.. I had no idea what that meant! 
There used to be suffragettes; now there are feminists. I 
feel rather like one of those English judges who asks ques- 
tions for clarification —you know, 'What's a dude?'" 

Fundamentalism: "The age of the earth is now estab- 
lished beyond any reasonable doubt as very .great, yet 
in the United States, millions of people still stoutly defend 
the naive view that it is relatively short, an opinion deduced 
from reading the Bible too literally, They usually deny 
that animals and plants have evolved and changed rad- 
ically over long periods, though this is equally well es- 
tablished. This gives me little confidence that what they 
have to say about the process of natural selection is like- 
ly to be unbiased, since their views are predetermined 
by a slavish adherence to religious dogma." 

The Neurobiologist: "I don't think there was a general 
expectation that I would achieve very much in neurobi- 
ology. I think the general reaction was, 'Who is this old 
guy coming into our field.'" 

Scientists: "In our culture, the 
scientist is hero and villain. 
People don't say, 'Literary peo- 
ple say, "To be or not to be.'" 
But they do say, 'Scientists 
say . . .' Scientists are all 
clumped together. We are not 
.all cold, emotionless people in 
lab coats— that's the stereotyp- 
ical view, and I'm astonished 
how much it persists." 

Einstein: "Theory is as much 
art as science. Think of Einstein 
as an adolescent asking him- 
self whether a light wave would 
seem stationary if one ran 
abreast of it. From that innocent 
question arose, years later, his theory of relativity." 

Psychologists: "One might have expected that the ma- 
jor effort of psychologists and neuroscientists would be 
directed toward understanding consciousness. This is far 
from the case. The majority of modern psychologists omit 
any mention of the problem, although much of what they 
study enters into consciousness. Most modern neuroscien- 
tists ignore it," 

The War Analogy: "In science, thinking in terms of mil- 
itary operations is quite useful — though people don't like 
to do this. The confusion of the scientific search is like 
the confusion of a battle. A country suddenly collapses 
and the whole arrangement changes. That's very much 
how the development of scientific research goes. Like sci- 
ence, everyone is supposed to cooperate, but rivalries 
surface. Then you get the temperaments of generals — 
many of them are prima donnas, like a lot of leading sci- 
entists. And, of course, there are the ethical questions: 
'Why are we fighting this war?'" 

Responsibility: "Scientists are a lot more socially respon- 
sible than most people. For example, when the issue of 


besi, a few 'millimeters— but others 
leave' the cortical sheet and travel 
some distance before entering anoth- 
er part of the sheet or going elsewhere, 
for example to the thalamus or the spi- 
nal cord. These longer connections are 
often covered by a fatty sheath, which 
enables the signal to travel faster and 
which gives this tissue a somewhat 
white, glistening appearance. Forty per- 
cent of our brain is made of this "white 
matter," and this is crucial to Crick's no- 
tion of just how much communication 
there is within the brain. 

This communication system handles 
both explicit and implicit representa- 
tions of the visual world. The explicit rep- 
resentation is symbolized without further 
extensive processing. An implicit one 
contains information but needs further 
processing to make it explicit. Crick hy- 
pothesizes that our brain must produce 
an explicit multilevel symbolic interpre- 
tation of the visual scene in order for 
us to "see" it. 

Some people, Crick says, may find 
it difficult to accept that what we see is 
only a symbolic interpretation of the 
world — it all seems so like the "real 
thing." Unlike, for example, the Hindu 
belief that what we see is "maya," or il- 
lusion, and that nothing we see actual- 
ly exists, Crick argues that the world 

does ex'sL Du". thai ' we have no direct 
know edge of objects in the world." 

And though Crick believes that visu- 
al consciousness is, in part at least, 
about the very route information takes 
through the brain, and most important- 
ly, where it gets to and which neurons 
are firing, he confesses. "I myself find 
it difficult at times to avoid the idea of 
the homunculus — a little man in our 
head directing it all. One slips into it so 
easily." And if all this sounds a bit com- 
plex, Crick sums it up neatly, grinning, 
"As Lewis Carroll's Alice might have 
phrased it, 'You're nothing but a pack 
of neurons.'" 

Some of Crick's colleagues at the 
Salk Institute may have wondered if 
Crick himself had gone through the look- 
ing glass last year when he bounded 
into an afternoon faculty tea announc- 
ing that he'd located the seat of free 
will in the human brain. Crick describes 
free will as the "feeling that one is free 
to make personal choices." 

What prompted this announcement 
was an account he'd read by his col- 
league Antonio Damasio, a well-known 
neurologist, of a woman who prior to 
recovery from brain damage had suf- 
fered a loss of will. The importance of 
studying cases of brain damage, Crick 
says, is that they show which parts of 

a month, the woman appeared unre- 
sponsive; lying in bed but with an alert 
expression. She could follow people 
with her eyes but did not speak spon- 
taneously. She gave no verbal reply to 
any questions put to her, though she ap- 
peared to understand because of the 
way she nodded in reply. When the wom- 
an recovered, she said she had not 
been upset by her inability to commu- 
nicate even though she'd been able to 
follow conversations; she hadn't talked 
because she had had "nothing to say." 
Her mind had been "empty." 

Crick was intrigued. "I immediately 
thought she'd lost her will and won- 
dered where the damage was." The 
damage turned out to be in or near the 
anterior cingulale sulcus, a region 
Crick was delighted to learn receives 
many inputs from higher sensory re- 
gions, and, as he had guessed, is at 
or near the higher levels of the motor 
system where movements are 
planned. "Take the complex act of swim- 
ming," he says. "How does the brain 
plan it all?" According to Crick, one of 
the functions of visual awareness is to 
plan movements. "What is the connec- 
tion between seeing something and- the 
part of the brain that plans and exe- 

cutes movements?" he asks. "Clearly, 
ii's about neurons firing." 

Reading more case histories. Crick 
stumbled upon the "alien hand" syn- 
drome, a kind of brain damage in 
which one of the patient's hands 
makes simple movements, which the pa- 
tient denies he or she willed. A patient's 
left hand, for example, might spontane- 
ously grasp some object put near it, 
though the patient denies that he or she 
is responsible for the movement. In 
some cases, the patient is unable to get 
the hand to let go and has to use the 
right hand to detach the left hand from 
the object. One patient found that he 
couldn't make his "alien" hand let go 
by his own willpower, but he could 
make it release its grasp by saying, "Let 
gol" in a loud voice. These cases fas- 
cinated Crick, especially when he 
learned that the damage was again in 
or near the anterior cingulate sulcus, sub- 
stantiating his theory that this is the 
seat of free will. 

Some scientists have speculated 
that the seat of consciousness is locat- 
ed in the hippocampus, a small, sea- 
horse-shaped part of the brain that 
stores for a few weeks or more the 
codes for new long-term, episodic mem- 
ories before the information is conveyed 
to the neocortex. Crick disagrees, cit- 

ing the case of a patient who had his 
hippocampus system on both sides 
knocked out after an injury. WT : -c the 
patient couldn't remember anything 
that happened more than a minute be- 
fore, he could see and talk perfectly 
well, which convinced Crick to rule out 
the hippocampal system as the seat of 

The trouble with speculation about 
consciousness. C> ck atirnits/'is that the 
damage is rather crude. If we could 
make nicely controlled brain damage 
on people, we could find- out how the 
brain works, but we're not allowed to do 
that — quite rightly." 

A plastic model of the human brain 
is on a shelf nearby. When I asked 
Crick to show me the location of free 
will, he cautioned, back-pedaling a bit, 
"Now, this is still highly speculative." 
From the walls ot his office, portraits of 
Einstein and Darwin stare down at us. 
He cradles the brain in his hands and 
says, rubbing the anterior cingulate 
sulcus with his forefinger, "Free will is 
most likely located here, but we think 
there probably is a frontal component 
as well. It certainly isn't at the back of 
the brain." He lays his thumb againsl 
the primary motor area: "Yes, it's defi- 
nitely near here, but It may depend on 
interactions with this frontal region." 

When reminded of the w 
lief in the existence of the soul sepa- 
rate from the body, he pauses, looks up 
from the model, and says flatly, with per- 
fect timing, "Surely, if almost everyone 
believed it, trjat is in itself prima facie 
evidence for it. But then some 4.000 
years ago, almost everyone believed 
the earth was flat." 

Smiling now, Crick reminds me that 
his friend Lesl e Orgel has :easingly sug- 
gested that there may be a religious pep- 
tide in the brain, Seeing that this specula- 
tion is going on the record, he settles 
back in his chair. "Oh, I don't think 
there is quite a religious peptide, but 
there is probably something in people's 
brains that makes some of them more 
susceptibfe-to religion than others. 
Whether it's inherited or not or whether 
it's something produced by early train- 
ing is like the question about homosex- 
uality. There's no reason why all that 
shouldn't be found out." 

Eight paintings of nude women line 
Crick's office at his quiet, airy home in 
La Jolla. They were painted by his 
wife, Odile, whose studio adjoins his of- 
fice. It was Odlle's drawing of a dou- 
ble helix that accompanied the now- 
legendary 700-word article in Nature. 
the British science magazine, e 


to do it, and yet I was the one 
they sent, persuading me as 

of the First Worlds could have. 

' ,, %%; 



ion: Is it Light 
m believe in. 
hich is your 


it, or at least 
sing to go, to 

(ss alive? 

out my family. 


Hit my father, 
lid not? They 
e— even the 
when 1 near- 

\ i 

e planet we 
. They knew 
sr's death and 
ind the day 
our world to 
l he would 

'' 4 





incil like the 
ways learns 

to learn to 
;k my brothers 

the creature 
iars. There in 
side the trade 

Worlds it had 

with no one — 

and so they had left it alone. After all, it had not been a 
creature at first; it had beeri a man — a man intent on chang- 
ing himself, but a man nevertheless. A man with the wealth 
to purchase such a ship and to outfit it, and the status to 
demand that he be left alone. He was, after all, Giman Goni — 
Master Mapper of Hamusek, the genius who- had made 
Change itself possible, who had fathered, by his theoretical 
models and technological applications, the unique human 
designs of ten billion citizens on over three hundred worlds, 
who had become wealthy in the process, and who had, in 
the end, known tragedy. 

The creature rarely stirred in the bowels of the ship and 
thefe had been times when the Council wondered if it were 
even alive, Yet bioscanners had showed that it was, and now 
those scanners, passing as close to the ship's hull as they 
dared, were reporting how the creature was moving again- 
moving through the endless corridors of the ship. At 
this point in time, given what the creature had become, its 

derstand. "Why did he bury them there, Rau Goni?" 
Prihoda Delp has asked me more than once. Why did he 
bury them there, she means, by the dry seas with their end- 
less sand, on a world where the fish must glide through the 
air to find water, where mud and molten rock seep through 
the thin crust and earthquakes make new mountain ranges 
even in one's lifetime. My mother had never visited that 
world. Why there instead of Hamusek? 

I am only seventy years old, while a Council member is 
two or three times that. I know what I wish, though I do not 
have the wisdom yet to know why I wish it. So I do what I 
do, trusting that there is wisdom. 

The clearest image they have — twenty years old, a lucky bi- 
oscan through the thinnest section of the hull — shows a crea- 
ture with two heads, each facing the other, each with what 
we imagine is the ability to speak. One face is dark — like 
space itself. The other, white as a moon. The hair that 

sanity could not be trusted. 1 kni 
knew I knew. 

Like all humans today, I could change my body it I wished. 
Yet I do not. 1 am in the minority. Even Prihoda Delp has 
been Changed — a little taller, she confides, eyes both strong- 
er and more compassionate than before, lungs now able to 
breathe successfully the atmospheres of the five worlds 
which she must, in her official duties, visit most frequently. 
Perhaps I have chosen to remain the way I am because 
I am Hamusek, because the Hamusek way of thinking val- 
ues pride, the dignity of acceptance and a willingness to 
work with what one has been given by birth, without com- 
plaint — though that same way of thinking, I know, produced 
my father, his Maps, and Change itself. But it was a vision 
of a human community vast- as -a galaxy that led him to 
these things. This is what I tell myself. 

I have told the Council that after t have finished — if I suc- 
ceed — I wish to return to The Hand, to the graves of my moth- 
er and sister. That I wish to live on that odd planet for a year 
and that I wish only to have my expenses paid for. I do not 
wish any legacy from him. 

They have agreed. Sometimes I think they may even Un- 
as OMNI 

grows from both skulls turns, at the waist, into scales — the 
long scales of a serpent from our oldest, deepest dreams. 
The blue-black hair is dark enough that we imagine it 
shines, as it does on so many Hamusek. The long tail, 
whose purpose eludes all who have studied it, is as thick 
around as the creature's trunk; and living things that can on- 
ly be the creature's children (each no larger than my hand) 
cling to its tail, their legs limp, their hairy heads buried in 
the pores of its chitinous hide, perhaps feeding, perhaps 

The long, articulated fingers on the creature's two hands 
end in talons made of metal — the same metal that shines on 
the two foreheads and leads, by wires, to the walls. 

The image is grainy, but experts have studied its shadows 
for years. -Attempts to obtain other images have failed. The 
creature has not ventured so near the hull again, remaining 
instead deep within the ship, making the ship hum in ways 
only a living thing could, and now, at last, starting to move 
again through the endless corridors. 

No creature is simply an image. There is another light, as 
our father used to say. The tight within — without which no 
living thing has meaning. 

Or the darkness within, I would say to him now. 



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The image is motionless on the Coun- 
cil's screen. None of the council mem- 
bers speak. I close my eyes and see a 
darkness. In the darkness I see a light 
moving like a moth in moonlight at Ha- 
nabata's Pond when 1 was a child, my 
father's voice beside me, sometimes 
speaking, sometimes singing, some- 
times silent. The light moves fitfully 
through the darkness on a path only it 
understands as it seeks a greater 
light, and, failing, accepts the darkness. 

"No living thing," my father says to 
me in the night — the northern winds qui- 
et, his eyes on me as I stare toward the 
mountain ranges where even now few 
people live— "can look for the light for- 
ever, not find it, and not be changed, 

I keep my eyes closed. I see the 
moth begin to transform. I see its abdo- 
men lengthen, become a tail snaking in- 
to the night — dark as night — and the 
head split slowly in two until the two fac- 
es turn to gaze at each other (because, 
after all, there is nothing in the darkness 
to see except ourselves). . 

I open my eyes, but still 
see it: The moth gives birth 
to children who will never 
leave it, who will stay forev- 
er, sucking blood from its 
tail . . . because, after all, in 
the darkness there is nothing 
for us to eat except our- 
selves. And my father says: 

"If we look long enough 
and do not find it, it does not 
exist— or that is what we be- 
lieve, and by believing it, 
make it so. . . ." 

He had made his discoveries by 
then, built his "changeable maps" of hu- 
man genes and found his Light. My 
mother and sister were still alive and yet 
this was how he talked to me that 
night, as if he knew what might happen. 

I was thirteen. He was fifty. I did not 
have the words to argue with him, 
though I knew I should. 

The ship the creature inhabits— the 
ship now so much a part of it— is athird- 
generation, 300-kiloton lodeship, the 
kind used in the era of raw-ore mining 
five centuries ago when such ships need- 
ed armament and the starlock system 
did not exist My father bought it in 
"deadspace mothballs," as they say, 
just outside the orbit of The Singing, 
fifth planet of the star called Hallock. 
There he kept it, orbiting the red giant 
and soon forgotten by the human chil- 
dren of that system. But the Council did 
not forget. They knew what a man like 
Gon — that brain, that vision — might be 
capable of . . . especially if he were in- 
sane. They knew, too, what a ship like 
60 OMNI 

that would be capable of- — if he kept it 
operable or somehow managed io im- 
prove it. 

The ship is three times its original 
size now and no longer looks like a 
ship. Like its lone inhabitant, it has 
been changing itself, adding to its 
mass, reconceiv re; its =nape — all at the 
creature's whim, all with metal it had ob- 
tained in the first decade by purchas- 
ing other mothballed ships, and, in lat- 
er years, by mining with its motile ma- 
Chines the thin belt of asteroids just 
inside Hallock's sixth world. The pur- 
chase of dead ships was easier for it, 
I am sure, but the corporations and pri- 
vate owners, at the request of the Coun- 
cil, stopped selling at last, and mining 
one's own metal on free territory does 
offer privacy. Do the citizens of The Sing- 
ing and The Dancing, I sometimes won- 
der, have any idea what that man has 

Two r kilometer-long alloy extrusions 
that make no sense to those who have 
studied them point toward Hallock itself, 







iuiv shapinc, smply what he believes he 
is in the eyes of God? 

Even the weapons are different. The 
standard beams that a lodeship might 
need in more lawless times to defend 
itself are gone. In their place, on the 
hull that is no longer a hull — that glit- 
ters with a moving mosaic of alloy 
plates not unlike scales — there are pho- 
ton weapons that appear powerful 
enough to annihilate entire ships, 
though the energy to do it would drain 
even a ship like this. There are weap- 
ons that appear to be neutron-casters 
only— weapons made to kill living 
things without destroying precious ships 
and cities. There are even weapons 
pointed inward, at the heart of the ship 
itself, unmovable. "What are these for?" 
the Council asks me and I do not an- 
swer. Do I tell them what 1 have 
dreamed — that the weapons are con- 
nected, that if one is fired, all will fire? 
"I do not think they are weapons," I 
say at last. I do not say: "I believe they 
are voices waiting to scream." I do not 
say:-"They are a simple equa- 
tion between life and death. 
To kill is to be killed. . . ." 

Only a Hamusek — and 
one who has seen a light 
extinguished in the night — 
would Know what I mean. 

while a third extrusion, not unlike a tail, 
points toward the darkness of space— 
the space between stars— as if to say: 
Do not be fooled; even a star is nothing. 

I remember him saying more than 

The things we make. Rau ... we 

The ship's engines were simple at 
first: Sub-lock sequential tokomaks. But 
they too have changed. Those hired by 
the. Council to study the sounds at a 
safe distance do not understand what 
they hear at the heart of the ship, and 
even now, in Council chambers, I can 
hear them argue. Is the creature itself 
now the engine? Is the creature's organ- 
ic heart now the heart of the ship, the 
rhythms we hear the rhythms any ship 
would make if it had such a heart? Has 
the creature built an organic analog for 
the ship — for its body and its brain? Has 
he been laughing at everyone, making 
of himself — and the ship — but a terrible 
joke? Is this the greatest art any human 
being has ever made? Or is this metal- 
. and-flesh thing he has spent half a cen- 

When he would sing to me, 
it would be the oldest songs 
on Hamusek, the ones our 
people brought with them to 
our world five hundred 
years ago, the ones we 
have sung even as we have 
changed to fit our world, even as we 
have remained the same, true to our- 
selves. We are, after all, fall and dark- 
skinned, with blue-black hair— descend- 
ants of the families of a small corpora- 
tion called "New India" whose employ- 
ees specialized in exploratory support 
for Terra-type or Terraforrned worlds — 
in other words, scouts, trackers, survey- 
ors, clearers, outposters, and "wilder- 
ness sensitives." Whether we came 
from the dark-skinned Caucasian peo- 
ple of the Terran state of India or from 
the Asiatic "Indians" of Terra's North 
America, we could not be sure. There. 
were legends— the kind my father 
loved — but legends hide thejruth. We 
could, of course — in the strange ways 
of history — have come from both. 

My father knew. In the end, after the 
tragedy, my father's Maps certainly 
showed him. But in the daily lives of Ha- 
musek's children, the genetic truth has 
never mattered. We have characteris- 
tics of both peoples. They have 
sensed us well, The legends live on, 
and we sing the songs. 

Like all young children in the towns 
and cities, I had grown up hearing 
their melodies, their feelings, without un- 
derstanding their strange words. As I 
got older I began to ask what the 
words meant, and as I learned, I ex- 
plained them to my younger brothers, 
Toth and Gram. Our father would sing 
the song first in the old language, the 
way he would for my mother, who 
loved his voice, and then he would 
sing it again, in words we could under- 

He would sing to us on the banks of 
Hanabata's Pond, in the cool night, on 
the streets of Seventh City, in his office 
at the polytechnic university when we 
visited him. He would. sing of things 
that did not feel like Hamusek, because 
indeed they had once belonged to an- 
other world. 

The song I remember best was his 
favorite. He would begin by saying sol- 
emnly: "This is a song about a love 
that even death could not extinguish. In 
this Song a woman's lover drowns and 
comes back to her as a 
ghost. When she sees him, 
she says to him' — " 

And he would sing; 

dreamt of a Truth so bright that it blind- 
ed him. .The songs were for us only as 
they revealed him to us. We did not 
sing them with him. He never taught us. 
And even they — these songs — were 
not enough to put a moon in the sky for 
him, to save him with their light. 

The ship that carriesrrie to the creature 
is small and unassuming. I am its one 
inhabitant. Who- I am — my name, my bi- 
ography in a variety of languages, my 
body as twelve different scans have ren- 
dered it, and my own genetic Map — 
has been broadcast for thirty inter- 
days in the direction of the creature's 
ship, in the broadest arc possible, on 
the chance that the creature (or its 
ship) might be listening . . . and that 
my identity might somehow matter. 

If it hears the transmission, it does 
not act; it does not fire at my craft. 

It lets me come to it ... as a father 

I do not know what atmosphere it 

Assunutli bi hoddentin ashi 


Bi hoddentin ashi tahay-o? 

Bi hoddentin ashi ik'a-eshkin 


Yandustan benanoyeti chi na? 

And then he would sing it in 
words we understood: 






shirt (in the "married lartans" of our fam- 
ily) and the plain durable pants we 
wore to school each day and still wore 
when my father returned home from the 
university, eyes distant as we pleaded 
with him to tell us about his work, 
about the Maps what it "might mean: 
Women who looked like cats and were 
ferocious. Men who looked like serpents 
and were kind. Children who could 
jump across rivers with boulders in 
their arms! Eyes that could see living 
creatures at the heart of a star! 

In the end he would indeed tell us — 
his three sons and his daughter on the 
floor before him — what it meant: how hu- 
man beings would, with the right ma- 
chines, be able to alter themselves at 
any point in their lives, and, as they did, 
know the consequences of every 
change they made in themselves. 
Would lungs that let you breathe the air 
of ten worlds shorten your life in the end 
or lengthen it? Would growing talons 
keep you from seeing in the night? 
Would eyes as pretty as the rainbow 
fish. of Dajonica make the 
grain crops of Hamusek poi- 
sonous to you? The Maps 
would be able to tell you. 

"There have never been 
maps like these," he would 


Oh where is your soft bed of skins, my 


Where is your soft warrior's sheet? 

And whBre is the fair one who watches 

over you_ 

As you lie in your long dreamless 


He would stop and say: "Her lover 
looks at her, as pale as death, and an- 
swers . . ." And then he would sing: 

The sea is my soft bed of skins, my 


The sand is my soft warrior's sheet 

And the long hungry worms they do 

feed off of me 

As I lie every night in the deep. . . . 

He had a good, strong voice (as our 
mother always said) but he would not 
share it at festivals or town meetings. 
In this way he was not Hamusek at all: 
He was alone, and he chose to be. The 
songs, I know now, were for him — so 
that he could, perhaps, feel the feelings 
lost to him : 

64 OMNI 

breathes, if if breathes anymore, with 
lungs, I mean — gasses in its blood. I car- 
ry my own— two days' worth — in light- 
weight tanks on my back, praying thai 
the creature's ship will ask no more of 
me than one or two gravities and that 
it still breathes what I breathe. I carry two 
weapons of my own choice: a small, 
worn laser-aimed projectile-rifle of the 
kind every Hamusek father gives his son 
at thirteen, and a long blade of volcanic 
glass from The Hand, seventh planet of 
our star, a blade I made myself on that 
world half a century ago. The Council 
did not understand tnese choices. Why 
not a cyclic-grenader? An energy suit? 
An arm-launched missile? You would 
have so much less to fear, would you 
not, Rau Goni? They meant well — 
when has the Council not meant well? — 
but intentions are not understanding. 

i chose my weapons to show him I 

I do not wear an armored suit of the 
kind soldiers wear. I do not wear an ex- 
plorers atmosphere suit. I wear the 
s "he made his Maps and .clothes I wore on Hamusek, patterned 

It was like a legend — a Ha- 
musek tall tale — and we 
would listen to the story with 
wide eyes: How simple the 
idea of the Maps was . . . 
how the idea had come to 

him one day while he was 

singing — singing . . . how 
he wouldn't have been able to make 
them — in their exquisite detail— without 
the great computers on Tar and Rasi 
and the Council's vast station in orbit 
around the twin stars of Goatch- 
er . . . How he had spoken with those 
computers through satellites and relays 
and starlock communiques for five Ha- 
musek years, had come to know them 
like friends, even felt affection for 
them. . . . Sometimes he would even 
dream at night of meeting them, of meet- 
ing those machines and finding human 
beings, not machines at all. . . . 

How he had given these computers 
his model — the "flowing paradigm," the 
"open finity"— for the entire Map series 
and had asked them to generate the 
first Map, using the vast genetic, envi- 
ronmental, and social data of their mem- 
ories to give flesh to his "paradigmatic 

How they had done what he asked, 
and made the second Map, too, and 
the third, and how, even now, as he 
spoke to us that evening, they were hee- 
ing him design the machines he tmM 

need to use the Maps ... to let the 
Changing begin at last. ' 

We listened even when we did not un- 
derstand, for it was a story about hope 
and that part was always clear. Our 
mother would listen, too, and in the end, 
to say good night, we would touch our 
foreheads to his, to hers — as sons and 
daughters of Hamusek always did — 
and would go to bed, happy to have 
had him to ourselves for a time. 

Everything was the Light in those 
days, though none of us could see be- 
cause of it. 

I have with me two small, convenient "de- 
vices" to deiec: biomass and motion-in- 
darkness. The Council offered and I ac- 
cepted- They believe they know how 
difficult my journey to him will be, how 
fraught with danger; they imagine. a mon- 
ster that wishes to consume me, and 
yet if that is what awaits me, it is not my 
father I go to meet. Or a battle between 
a man who has lost all sanity and his 
son — flesh against flesh, bone against 
bone; but if that is the struggle to 
come, it is not my father I am going to 
meet. I take the small, convenient de- 
vices simply because they may help me 
find him. I may not need them. We Ham- 
usek see well in the dark, given the 
long nights of our planet, our breeding 

for five centuries, the genetic inclina- 
tions of those humans who first came 
to our world. 

I take the devices. I take, as well, a 
small container — one that holds nothing. 

The spacecraft that brought me to 
the great ship leaves and I stand in the 
silence of the lock'listening. I cannot 
hear the little ship moving away; I can- 
not feel its vibrations through the throb- 
bing of this massive ship, but I know it 
will station : tse'f just beyond the range 
of the ship's odd weapons and wait for 
a signal from me. If the signal comes, 
it will return to this same lock and ac- 
cept one human being, Rau Goni. If, af- 
ter seventy-two ship hours, the signal 
has not come, the little craft will report 
to the Council and the Council will 
send what armament it feels is neces- 
sary to end it. 

I pray that. I do not stumble, that I do 
not- fall unconscious. I pray that my 
tanks will work. I pray that there will not be 
an accident to set the end in motion. 

According to those who sent me, there 
are four thousand kilometers of corri- 
dors in this ship. That does not matter. 
Whatever direction I move, I will know 
whether I am moving closer to him or 
farther away. A son — or daughter — of 
Hamusek always knows. It is in the 

Maps, in the genes of one "India" or an- 
other, As psychologists have shown 
since the Changing began, the first 
bonds of mother and child, or father 
and child, do not disappear even 
when the bodies Change. 

There is, I remember, a legend on Ha- 
musek about a father who dies and 
leaves his body, but calls to his seven 
sons until the sons, unable to bear it any 
longer, forsake their flesh to be with 
him. It was that very legend — told to me 
by my father — which took me to The 
Hand fifty years ago, to my mother's 
and sister's grave there, to death itself. 

I have always wondered what the sto- 
ries of a people — their legends, tall 
tales and songs— do to. them. That is, 
what power these stories have to 
shape human lives by their image, and 
the people's own. 

My father has wondered, too, I am 

The corridors are dark. I remove my 

tanks slowly, take a tentative breath. It 
is a/r— the air of Hamusek, stale but fa- 
miliar, dusty yet full of trees. 

In this darkness I become what I was 
as a child in the forests there, what all 
Hamusek are— in their wilderness. My 
nostrils flare. I smell a hundred differ- 
ent thmgs. The blood in my skull roars 


tffts a teenager at boarding school, 
£m& he began sneaking outdoors af- 
m m ter lights out. "I fell in love with 
the sky," recalls Tom Sever, now NASA's 
archaeologist and a remote-sensing expert 
at the John C. Stennis Space Center in 
southwest Mississippi, "and I started invent- 
ing my own constellations." Two of his 
night-sky creations: a 1957 Chevy con- 
vertible, his first favorite car; and a San 
Francisco boxcar, like those lhat passed 
on a nearby railroad track, "I know the 











Greek constellations, and I've taught 
them," says the 45-year-old, "but even iq- 
day, the most vivid ones in the sky are Tie 
ones I first created." 

Sever's gift for envisioning new n sub- 
tle patterns has served him well. Fusing 
his doctorate in anthropology/arches-: : c ■ 
at the University of Colorado in the mid Sev- 
enties, he studied prehistoric archisecSxe, 
astronomy, and calender sysierrs. In r*o 
summers with project scten-js:s " re Sarin- 
west studying Anasazi astronomy, he stii! 

searched for patterns. The work included taking measure- 
ments of kiva orientations and other Pueblo building struc- 
tures, and hunting for the solstice and equinox positions 
that the ancient Anasazi used in their ceremonies. 

In a 1977 field trip into the Andes, he worked with Earth- 
watch Foundation archaeologists to investigate the Quech- 
uan Inca's astronomical ceque lines and architectural align- 
ments outside the town of Cuzco. A system of 41 lines em- 
anates from the Temple of Gold, and along each line are 
eight shrines called Wakas, which could be, among other 
things, caves with human 
bones. After a day's trek at 
an altitude near 9,000 feet, 
Sever sat on a mountain- 
side at dusk watching the 
sun fall behind the Andean 
high peaks and imagined a 
satellite flying overhead, its 
sensors collecting data 
from the vast mountainous 
region below. 

In the last 15 years, Sev- 
er has realized his epiph- 
any in the Andes by devel- 
oping and refining remote- 
sensing technology. This 
includes optical light-gath- 
ering sensors that discrim- 
inate and identify surface 
objects by analyzing reflect- 
ed light, and microwave/ 
radar imaging sensors that 
can pierce clouds, jungle 
canopy, sand, and soils. 
Mounted on satellites, 
space shuttles, airplanes, 
blimps, tethered balloons, 
and even truck-drawn 
sleds, these remote sen- 
sors "see" far beyond the 
narrow range of visible 
light (the' band waves be- 
tween ultraviolet and infra- 
red frequencies) in the en- 
ergy spectrum to which the 
human eye is limited. And 
Sever plays a central role in 
choosing just what remote 
sensors will focus on and 
what their computer back- 
up will analyze. 

As we spoke in Saver's office at Stennis, NASA's premier 
rocket test site for 30 years, at one point a steady roar built, 
lasting several minutes. It was another static test firing of the 
space shuttle main engine, part of the program thai sur- 
passed 500,000 seconds of test time in one year alone. 
Around the rocket-test stand, a variety of remote sensors col- 
lected and measured data streams generated from the en- 
gine's components, all to produce better and safer rocket 
engines. This same space-age sensor technology is help- 
ing archaeologists detect and record micro amounts of en- 
ergy, whose pixels they sift and enhance'to make the invis- 

72 OMNI 

ible visible, the hidden found. Tom Saver's work is allowing 
thousands of scientists and researchers to see for the first 
time. — Neil McAleer 

Omni: What were your thoughts about the future of archae- 
ology during that 1 977 summer in the Andes? - 
Sever: After tracking the ancient Inca lines through the moun- 
tains for three months, we'd completed only two and a half 
of 41 lines. I became aware of just how tedious and expen- 
sive most field work can be, especially when you're working 
demanding environ- 


Classical: Leo; personal: 
'57 Chevy (a.k.a. Orion) 


Peruvian Andes 



Loren Eisley 


' ■ ■ .■ - 
interstellar Migration 
and the Human Experience 
by Ben Finney and 
Eric Jones 


The footpaths of the Arenal. 


Thermal infrared 


Ulysses by Tennyson 


"Remote-sensing technology 
will prove more important 
to archaeology and anthropol- 
ogy than carbon-14 dating." 

ments such as roadless 
mountain regions. Sitting 
on that hill, I thought that 
even if I were to receive my 
research funding for years 
to come, I'd never know 
the answers, because 
there were 28 other sets of 
41 lines throughout South 
America. At that rate, it 
would take over 100 years 
to complete the survey. 
That meant with our current 
technology, I'd never un- 
derstand how this ancient 
Inca calendar system 
worked. It bothered me a 
lot — not knowing, and per- 
haps never knowing. Then 
it dawned on me that my 
plight was that of all archae- 
ologists, no matter where 
they worked. That's when 
I thought, Could NASA 
satellite technology be 
applied successfully to 
Omni: Once at Stennis, 
you quickly saw the advan- 
tage of airborne sensors? 
Sever: The high quality of 
airborne-sensor data and 
superior resolution made It 
the best way to test the 
application of remote sens- 
ing to archaeology and an- 
thropology. Aircraft at this 
time flew much closer to 
the ground than satellites, 
so for sensors mounted on 
aircraft, the resolution was 5 and 10 meters, versus 80 for 
satellites. At first there was no funding for archaeology, but 
I began to win over people working in agriculture, forestry, 
soil science, wetlands — all of which are relevant to archae- 
ology. They'd then use the instrumentation to solve problems — 
often the same as archaeologists face. 

Much archaeology research focused on site-specific in- 
formation. Putting information on known, excavated sites in- 
to a database, researchers can develop a site profile. Such 
characteristics as elevation, distance from water, distances 
between sites or cities, corridors, and transportation routes 

can help predict potential archaeologi- 
cal sites. 

As I began to explore the application 
of remote sensing, some scientists ex- 
pressed doubt. Many were skeptical be- 
cause earlier airborne sensors were sim- 
ilar to a low-powered telescope unable 
to detect details on Mars or Jupiter. And 
a satellite sensor's 80-meter resolution 
would let you see a prehistoric road or 
wall ruin in the data. Because it hadn't 
worked earlier, it was hard to convince 
these scientists it would work this time. 
Omni: Where was your first opportuni- 
ty to prove them wrong? 
Sever: Chaco Canyon in northwestern 
New Mexico, near the Four Corners re- 
gion. At first I thought about going to 
more exotic places like Stonehenge or 
the Pyramids in Egypt, but in the end 
it was the lab's modest funding that de- 
termined our choice. The Chaco Can- 
yon Research Center had done aerial 
photography and ground survey and 
had begun a database. If our sensors 
found prehistoric roads, this would be 
proof that the technology 
could work for archaeology. 
And if we didn't find any 
roads, that would be an an- 
swer, too. 

We flew the Thermal Infra- 
red M u It i spectral Scanner 
[TIMS] for the first time over 
Chaco in the spring of 1982. 
It could resolve the ground 
down to a five-meter 
square. The TIMS also de- 
tects temperature differenc- 
es to a tenth of a degree cen- 
tigrade on or near the 
ground. This enabled it to detect, pre- 
historic roads of Chaco Canyon that 
date to 900 or 1000 a.d. Later, when I 
stood in Chaco Canyon and looked 
across the north mesa, holding comput- 
er-enhanced images in my hands, I 
could not see any features with my 
eyes that were there in the images. 
That's when the promise of this technol- 
ogy really hit me: how powerful it was, 
and what it could mean to me and ar- 
chaeologists everywhere. I walked out 
and studied the site because I simply 
could not believe how good this sen- 
sor already was. 

Omni: Besides the importance of the 
thermal sensor, what else did you 
learn in New Mexico? 
Sever: In three more flights over 
Chaco later in the Eighties, we found 
some 200 miles of a prehistoric road- 
way system extending south to Navajo 
Springs, Arizona, and into southeast 
Utah. Just how much farther this road- 
way system extends remains unknown. 
At one time, people believed Chaco Can- 
yon was a center for redistribution. But 

74 OMN! 

the extent of the road system puts that 
theory in doubt. I see Chaco Canyon as 
a social and religious center. People 
were coming in, exchanging ideas, prac- 
ticing ritualistic activity, then returning 
to whence they came. It explains why 
we've found so few bodies in Chaco: 
They'd take their dead home to their 
respective pueblos. 

We discovered parallel road seg- 
ments, sometimes dual sets, making 
four roadways that would continue for a 
while and then merge into a single road- 
way. The myths chronicle the Pueblo's 
merging as one people, then separat- 
ing, then merging again in the future. 
Omni: What other sites have you used 
to develop these sensors? 
Sever: We've flown all our sensors over 
Poverty Point, Louisiana, one of the ear- 
liest and most sophisticated archaeologi- 
cal sites in North America. We've built 
a wonderful database using different 
types of sensors, optical and radar, 
from the site, which dates back from 
1200 to 1000 B.C. to it's abandonment 






about 600 B.C. Actively studied and ex- 
cavated in the Fifties, it has a central 
plaza surrounded by six concentric ridg- 
es, their purpose unknown. 

In the early Eighties, we used TIMS 
to detect a linear feature invisible from 
the ground that ran from the central pla- 
za out across these ridges. It turned out 
to be a causeway or rampway coming 
into the site. Lying outside and due 
east of the plaza is a large bird-effigy 
mound that was once 110 feet high; 
these earthworks date about 1000 B.C. 
That a lot of trade material was found 
there — copper from Michigan, flint ma- 
terial from the Ohio and Tennessee re- 
gions — indicates a large trade network 
existed, perhaps using the river system. 
Omni: The project around Arena! Vol- 
cano, Costa Rica, provided the most dra- 
matic proof of remote sensing's poten- 
tial. How did it get started? 
Sever: Jim Wiseman, chairman of ar- 
chaeology at Boston University, recog- 
nized the importance of the technology 
and helped organize a conference 
■that eventually brought 24 top people 

in various disciplines to Mississippi. An 
outshoot of the conference was choos- 
ing an area and site to demonstrate the 
technology. That's when I met with 
Payson Sheets, an archaeologist from 
the University of Colorado who had a 
grant to excavate prehistoric villages in 
Costa Rica. Devastated by ten volcan- 
ic eruptions over the past 4,000 years, 
these villages were preserved to some 
extent under layers of ash. 

After Sheets's team first surveyed 
this tropical rain forest region in 1984, 
NASA initiated two series of overflights 
using a specially equipped Learjet 
that flew about 1 ,000 miles high. When 
the second series of flights was com- 
pleted in spring of 1985,. our remote- 
sensing database included color and 
false-color infrared photographs, ther- 
mal data from the TIMS, two bands of 
synthetic aperture radar data, and light- 
detection and ranging data. Later, sev- 
en spectral bands from the Landsat sat- 
ellite's (hematic-mapper [TM] instrument 
were also added, making this one of the 
_ most extensive remote-sens- 
ing databases constructed 
for archaeology. 

Early in 1985, Payson and 
I were at the site, which is on 
the Continental Divide, 90 
miles from San Jose, Costa 
Rica, studying the land- 
scape by foot. I saw a linear 
feature running through it 
and pointed it out to him. But 
he, lacking my computer ex- 
perience, couldn't see it. As 
many remote sensors do, I 
was seeing from a different 
perspective — one that merges the aer- 
ial and ground information. Later on, 
Payson confessed that he was begin- 
ning to wonder who NASA had sent 
him — this guy who thought he was see- 
ing things everywhere. 

Then I suggested we go back and 
look at the color-infrared photography 
to see if these features showed up 
there. Our field lab was a wooden 
shack in the little village of Tilaran, rent- 
ed for 87 cents a day. We studied the 
images; lines appeared where I saw the 
features. Payson also saw them in the 
images and became a believer. 
Omni: What did you think the linear fea- 
tures were? 

Sever: I first thought they were road- 
ways, because they seemed to be sev- 
eral feet wide at the surface. Then we 
began digging trenches at the base of 
the cemetery where one of the linear fea- 
tures diverged. As the workers dug the 
first trench, Payson and I studied the vol- 
canic layers of ash deposited over 
4,000 years. As we excavated through 
the layers, a V pattern emerged, indi- 

eating erosion. When we finally got 
through the ash layers, Payson studied . 
the base, which was only one or two 
feet wide, and said, "This isn't a road- 
way. It's a footpath." We were seeing 
prehistoric footpaths, literally walking in 
the footsteps of the ancients. In discov- 
ering the world's oldest known foot- 
paths, we'd proven to the skeptics that 
remote sensing was important to the fu- 
ture of archaeology and anthropology. 
Over the next few years, we put in 
40 to 50 trenches, and with dating tech- 
niques, distinguished two different 
time frames for the footpaths. The ear- 
liest network, dated to about 500 B.C., 
was not as extensive as the later one. 
There were more footpaths connected 
to more sites, leading from villages to 
the cemetery on a high ridge of the Di- 
vide, where the people would com- 
mune with the departed spirits of 
loved ones. We can now know the dai- 
ly movements of people more than 
2,000 years ago. 

Omni: Besides the infrared, what oth- 
er remote sensors proved useful? 
Sever: The faint lines indicating foot- 
paths on infrared photography could be 
seen only in open pasture lands. Lat- 
er, however, we used the TIMS to dis- 
criminate footpaths beneath thick for- 
est. Landsat's mapper imagery also 
helped us find out if the Arenal area 
was a dryer forest environment during 
earlier time periods and if the present- 
day tropical forest grew over it. Satel- 
lite data on the Continental Divide 
shows one side, the dry Pacific as red, 
and the other, the lush wet Atlantic, as 
green. As we excavated villages, we 
found the soils there were oxidized, 
meaning they were receiving sunlight. 
But the footpath areas were not, mean- 
ing they were under a deep forest can- 
. opy. Prehistoric peoples were moving 
through the tropical forest and living in 
an environment similar to what we see 
today— even after all the volcanic erup- 
tions over the centuries. 
Omni: How important is remote-sensing 
technology to our well being? 
Sever: More than most people realize. 
The stereotype has archaeologists just 
digging up spearheads and pottery and 
anthropologists just writing down the 
words of primitive tribes. But we're ex- 
amining how people adapted to their en- 
vironment throughout time, how they ex- 
perienced environmental shift, why cul- 
tures come and go. Soils associated 
with artifacts are as important as the ar- 
tifacts themselves — probably more rel- 
evant than the actual objects. Now 
more than ever, archaeological re- 
search is interdisciplinary: botany, for- 
estry, soil science, hydrology — all con- 
tribute to a more complete understand- 

ing of the earth, c malic shifts, and how 
people adapt to large regions. This un- 
derstanding is critical to decision mak- 
ing affecting ihe planet. 

In Costa Rica, the culture survived re- 
peated volcanic explosions. Other cul- 
tures, like the advanced Maya societies, 
did not survive or recover from similar 
eruptions. Did it have to do with the 
size and violence of the eruption, the 
way they farmed their land over time, 
or territorial and political struggle? 
Omni: Where did you fly next? 
Sever: Guatemala has many unex- 
plored areas in what was the old Maya 
Empire, including the Piedras Negras 
region and Usumacinta River Valley on 
the border of Mexico and Guatemala. 
Their inaccessibility and distance from 
any population center, plus leftist guer- 
rilla activity, has also discouraged ex- 
peditions into this area. We joined forc- 
es with the National Geographic Soci- 
ety and a small research company in 
Mississippi. It began as a salvage proj- 
ect because of many rumors about a 
dam that would have flooded the 
Usumacinta River Valley, destroyed ar- 
chaeological si'.os caused tremendous 
environmental destruction, and uproot- 
ed the surviving Lacandon Maya. 
Omni: Did you hope to change this 
dam- con structi on policy? 
Sever: That was never the focus of our 
efforts. We just wanted to understand 
what was going on in the region so 
good decisions for preservation could 
be made in the future. In 1988, we pro- 
duced a thematic-mapper image from 
Landsat [using several sensors to look 
at larger areas of terrainj of the 
Piedras Negras region, using three out 
of its seven bands for processing. To 
our surprise, it showed all the land on 
the Mexican side had been deforested, 
while in Guatemala, the forest thrived. 
These TM images were distributed in 
Guatemala: a copy was brought to the 
attention of Guatemala's President, Vin- 
icio Cerezo, who immediately sum- 
moned the Mexican ambassador. Re- 
motely sensed images of their borders 
was a factor eventually leading to the 
presidents of Guatemala and Mexico 
shaking hands for the first time in 150 
years;. As a result, the plans to build the 
dam were halted. A few years later, all 
seven presidents of Central America 
signed an agreement to work together 
on the environment. 
Omni: What happens archaeologioally 
when the land is burned? 
Sever: The limestone used to build Ma- 
yan temples and other structures is al- 
so burned. Fire and rain can destroy 
them, and they can erode away in a few 
years. There's a constant race between 
preservation and looting. 

Own A 



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Throughout history, dozens of writing systems have been attributed to 

gods, spirits, or E.T.'s. Are any of them real? 

m * having messages of example, that an alien writing sy 

...„ mind of man? Mario exactly the same letters as our t 
Pazzaglini, a Newark, Delaware- 

chologist aims to find out. His controversial evidence: After eliminating obviously forged scripts as ' 

More than a hundred samples of "alien writing," in- as those without enough symbols for true evaluate.., 

eluding symbols reportedly seen on alien craft, Pazzaglini was left with five samples to put to the 

scripts read by abductees in so-called alien books, test. "These five scripts are promising," he says, "be- 

and material said to be psychically transmitted direct- cause each displays a limited number of symbols in 

ly into human brains. patterns suggestive of grammar." Three of the five 

ding to Pazzaglini, author of the new book, even seem to s 

Symbolic Messages: An Introduction to the Study of ofasinglewritii.y^^,,,. «,*., ^^ a 

incept of alien writing is hard- mit himself on that point. "It's like comparing 

)ut historv. he savs. __^^^_^. vour handwritina and my handwriting and 


f more complex than ( , 

pretty hard for you to tell if those 
three represented " 



'n. "Certainly, something i 

-' "ociological, and per- will reveal this: One of his favorite candidates looks 

_. zaglini says. "Either like Gregg shorthand. But ur '" 

■Ye desperately trying to tell ourselves something, ture appears to be syllabic, 

Dne is trying to get through to us." Despite all the theories, Pazzaglini, is unwillir 

Despite this insight, Pazzaglini brushes aside the rule out psychological interpretations for the "al 

' /che may be capable of 


mibol-sound systems 
with inherent syntax and grammar. We could b 
i- rologically wired to do this." Still, he can't help bi 
. "One person tried to pass off an exact der if those few promising scripts might not be evi- 
ge from the Book of Mormon. Other dence that "something truly unknown is at hand." 
ire simolv too mundane; it's unlikelv, for —PATRICK HUYGHE 



i can send sig- 
than the 

Mod (a.k.a. Jon Madis 
who initiated the work 

ght, has come 

"People questioned wr 

las followed 

family as well as the 
Dawn Woman, were u 
known to the White 
man until Hinton and 

ee-foot-long carved 


jod figurines. A 
cle accident par- 
alyzed Morris, 
uffered inexplica- 


s found them in 
e. Since these o 
were needed to 
e young men int 

Yet another 

identical nightmare. 

marked the beginning of ; 
Hopi cur-" " 

titacts collector who is 
id to have feared tl 

closing in on him. 

Posing as a black-marke^ 

quish between humans ences f 

a way to find out-" 

—Steve Nadis 

night? British parapsychol- 


jiflerent effects in Miami las- 

about." — K 
)iklore monkey suit. 


rohor- APEMAN began when 

ed a Miami p 

| According to federal 
its, the Mexicans 
^jided to buy the ape and 
arranged for the gorilla 
to be flown back home. 


Airport, tl . 

side the cage marked 

uonllas are endangered: 

it is almost impossible." 
Picon quickly arranq 

ted." says Picon. "Bui 

I species: tney bougl 
ro agent in a monkey < 
•too cooperated, arranging I — Sherry Baker 



ing the 1953 discovery of the molecu- 
lar structure of DNA. 

The Cricks have been married 44 
years. Odile, with bright hazel eyes and 
aquicklaugh, says of their courtship, 
which began when she was translating 
captured German documents in Lon- 
don, "I'd never been with a scientist; ii 
took some getting used to. When we 
went on our first picnic one very roman- 
tic afternoon, Francis gave me a lecture 
on gravity," They are both laughing 
- now, "I simply asked," Cricks says, "it 
she knew how far up gravity went." 

On Crick's desk is a home, comput- 
er — nothing fancy, a simple workstation. 
Mostly he uses it for accounting and do- 
mestic functions. He finds computers, 
he says, "a bit obsessional" and pre- 
fers to work out his scientific theories 
in longhand. When the discussion 
turns to the comparison of the brain to 
a computer, Crick cautions 
that this parallel, if carried 
too far, leads to unrealistic the- 
ories. In the first place, he ex- 
plains, a computer works 
much more quickly than the 
human brain. And while the 
operations in a computer are 
largely serial — one after an- 
other — the arrangements in 
the brain "are usually mas- 
sively parallel. For example, 
about a million axons go 
from each eye to the brain, 
all working simultaneously." 

The loss of a few neurons-is unlikely 
to alter the brain's behavior apprecia- 
bly. "In technical jargon," Crick says, 
"the. brain is said to 'degrade graceful- 
ly.' A computer degrades catastrophi- 
caljy — even small damage may cause 
havoc." A typical neuron in the brain 
can have anywhere from a few hundred 
to many tens of thousands of inputs, but 
a transistor — a basic unit in a comput- 
er — has only a few inputs and outputs. 
Yes, Crick argues, computers can be 
programmed for extensive, number 
crunching, rigid logic, and playing 
chess, but when faced with tasks that 
ordinary humans can do in a rapid and 
effortless way, such as seeing objects 
and understanding their signiiicance, 
even the most modern computers fail. 
And yet in the storage and retrieval of 
information, the computer is much 
more precise, and it's clear that mem- 
ory is stored in a computer in a differ- 
ent way. But for Crick, the fundamental 
difference is that while a computer has 
been deliberately designed by engi- 
neers, the "brain has evolved over 

80 OMNI 

many generations of animals under the 
pressures of natural selection." 

The mysterious aspects of conscious- 
ness might disappear if we could build 
machines thai had the 'asxnishing char- 
acteristics of the brain and if we could 
follow exactly how they worked," Crick 
says, but he does not hold much hope 
that in the near future such a machine 
will be built. "Perhaps they will be 
more like the brain of a frog or even 
that of a humble fruit fly. Until we un- 
derstand what makes us conscious, we 
are not likely to be able to design the 
right sort of artificial machine nor to ar- 
rive at firm conclusions about conscious- 
ness in lower animals." 

The problem Of consciousness, 
Crick believes, will be far more difficult 
to solve than DNA. "But you have to re- 
member," he says, "that we didn't 
know how simple DNA was. For all we 
know, there may be a simple answer to 
this one., but it doesn't seem likely. The 
brain is a more complex system. DNA 
was much ear ier in evolution — the an- 






swer had lo be simpler or it wouldn't 
have got started. DNA has been here 
for three and a half billion years. Con- 
sciousness is relatively late-. Don't for- 
get, modern man has been here for on- 
ly a hundred thousand years or so." 

For Crick, the image of the brain as 
an impenetrable blacK oox is outdated 
and self-defeating. "Most of the myster- 
ies of life are not seeable — all of sci- 
ence depends on roundabout methods. 
If it were straightforward, it would be 
done straightaway." Our secret weap- 1 
on in brain research, Crick suggests, 
may not be theorists and computation 
experts, but people who are using com- 
puters to solve practical problems. In 
the workplace, "people have to pro- 
duce- gadgets :ha". work, which is what 
evolution has to do." For example, the 
post office had to produce a machine 
that can read handwritten zip codes. 
Gadgets like this "probably, will give us 
ideas of what happens in the brain,. be- 
cause evolution tends to produce gadg- 
ets as well. In that sense, evolution 
knows nothing about theory; it only 

knows how to build gadgets." 

From San Diego, it's two hours over 
the mountains to the house Francis and 
Odile Crick have recently built in the 
Anza Borego desert. Driving down Mon- 
tezuma's Grade toward the desert 
floor, the steep, boulder-strewn descent 
is reminiscent of the barren, atavistic 
landscape at the start of 2001: A 
Space Odyssey. In the distance is the 
dying Salton Sea, which historian Bill 
deBuys calls a "place where conse- 
quences collect." 

This is where' Crick goes to get away, 
his hermitage. And like his work in neu- 
robiology, which he turned to after dec- 
ades of pioneering work in molecular 
and developmental biology, he is slow- 
ly mapping the territory out here as 
well, walking trails each twilight 
through the desert with his wife, learn- 
ing the names of wildlife and vegeta- 
tion: creosote bush, ocotillo, elephant 
tree. It is to this desert in blistering af- 
ternoon sun that we have come to talk 
about the culture that Crick.foresees if 

indeed scientists find that 

the soul is simply a machine. 
He says he will be very sur- 
prised if developments in sci- 
ence "don't make radical 
changes in the way educat- 
ed people think of them- 
selves." And still, he knows, 
like the debate over evolu- 
tion, Vast numbers won't be 
influenced — "usually for reli- 
gious reasons." 

In Crick's culture, psychol- 
ogy will be a hard science. 
and philosophy departments 
will house researchers who also have 
degrees in biology or neurobiology. 
And words like conscious and uncon- 
scious, he suggests, may be replaced 
by processing unit or awareness unit 
(Already, Patricia Churchland, one of 
the few philosophers in The world wflh 
a detailed knowledge of neurons and 
the. brain and also of neural networks 
has, at Crick's urging, an adjunct ap- 
pointment at the Salk Institute.) 

"Many people think all things cant be 
explained by chemistry and physics, 
that it's explainable only as something 
outside science— a life force. That was 
also the view about our genetic inheri- 
tance before we knew about DNA. 
Most scientists believe there isn't any- 
thing else." But, he admits, "that's still 
a hypothesis." He knows at this point, 
based on the scientific data, that he 
couldn't convince a skeptic. "They 
would just say, 'That is just your 
prejudice.'" He adds, with a chuckle, 
"Which is not to say that your prejudice 
may not turn out to be right." 

He admits that some people will be 

disturbed by the religious mp ications 
of the book, especially those who be- 
lieve there is life after death. "The im- 
plication that it might not be true and 
that we might be able to show it' scien- 
tifically will be disturbing." The others 
who will be disturbed, he says, are 
those "who don't actually believe in life 
after death but who haven't faced up 
to the implications of it yet." Though be- 
liefs change slowly, the church in 
Crick's culture will increasingly have to 
reckon with science. "Scientifically, we 
know if you are out in a thunderstorm, 
the chances are increased that you 
may be struck by lightning. We no long- 
er think that it's because we didn't sac- 
rifice an ox recently to Jove. Look at the 
beliefs people had in the past. Do you 
really think it was sensible to look at the 
entrails of a chicken to predict what was 
going to happen in the future?" 

He- predicts that while scientists "are 
basically tolerant of religion, that may 
not last. There eventually will be con- 
flict. We might even See religious sci- 
ence wars. One would hope that could 
be avoided." People outside the scien- 
tific culture, Crick says, "are naturally 
beginning to feel threatened by scien- 
tists. And they are wise to feel that. 
They will be threatened." 

I venture to ask if Blake was right to 
warn of scientists turning that which is 
soul into machine? Are there some 
things that should remain undeci- 
phered? Crick is smiling now— a mischie- 
vous, ironic smile. "You know," he 
says, "Blake used to sit outside naked 
in the garden with his wife and talk to 
angels. Now I've got nothing against sit- 
ting naked in the garden, but talking to 
angels — don't you find that a bit odd?" 

The desert sun has begun to sink be- 
hind the'Santa Ysidro Mountains, its near- 
ly autumnal colors settling over Crick's 
face, softening his angular features. I 
wonder if, in his scientific view, there is 
room for mystery. "Well, what do you 
mean by mystery?" he asks. "It's a mys- 
tery how the darn thing behaves, wheth- 
er it's in the activities of neurons or not." 
And as if he implicitly understands 
what the next question must be, for it 
is the universal question of an anxious 
and God-yearning people— If soul is on- 
ly a metaphor, a story we tell to com- 
fort ourselves, and if there is no ghost 
in the machine, then what does that 
leave us with? — Crick leans forward, his 
face reflecting the last light of this fad- 
ing day, and says, "Think about the 
size of the universe. In Shakespeare's 
time they had no idea how big the uni- 
verse was. Does our knowledge today 
remove the mystery of it? It seems to 
me what you lose in mystery you gain 
in awe."OQ 


recombinant DNA arose, the scientists 
themselves imposed a moratorium for 
six months. In the Human Genome Proj- 
ect, a percentage of the budget was set 
aside to study the social impact and eth- 
ical questions — at the suggestion of the 

By the People: "Sooner or later, peo- 
ple have to realize that where we are 
going is partly iheir responsibility, and 
they have to judge the issues and 
make collective decisions as to where 
they want to go." 

Consciousness: "It is better to avoid 
a precise definition of consciousness be- 
cause of the dangers of premature def- 
inition. Until the problem is understood 
much better, any attempt at a formal def- 
inition is likely to be either misleading 
or overly restriclive, or both." 

Experimentation: "In our culture, 
you're allowed to volunteer for the 
Peace Corps or the armed forces, run 
the risk of being killed or coming down 
with infectious diseases and maybe not 
returning alive. These things are 
thought to be praiseworthy, but volun- 
teering to help knowledge, to help fur- 
ther scientific discovery, that's not part 
of our culture. I would, however, be very 
unhappy if experiments were conduct- 
ed on people without their informed con- 
sent. That would be wrong." 

Superstition: "Only scientific certain- 
ty—with all its limitations — can in the 
long run rid us of the superstitions of 
our ancestors." 

DNA: "Ethical questions regarding 
DNA and RNA are beginning to enter 
into the consciousness of our society. 
These are very troubling questions 
that are going to be raised in churches 
and synagogues. They will raise the is- 
sue of individual responsibility. Social 
attitudes change— about every five' 
years. One time, everyone was worried 
about recombinant DNA and how dan- 
gerous it was, but you hardly hear that 
nowadays. You hear little things like, 
'Chefs {there's an organization called 
Chefs Against DNA) don't like recom- 
binant food.' Bizarre." 

Abortion: "It's a matter of viewpoint. 
If you view the fetus as an immortal 
soul, it makes a difference. But remem- 
ber, that's only a hypothesis." 

The Emperor's New Mind, by Roger 
Penrose (Oxford University Press, 1989): 

"I talked to him recently at a garden par- 
ty in Oxford. His argument is that quan- 
tum gravity is mysterious and conscious- 
ness is mysterious and wouldn't it be 
wonderful if one explained the other_ It 
will be remarkable if his main idea 
turns out to be true." 

The Self and Its Brain, by Karl Pop- 
per and John Eccles (Springer- Verlag, 
1985): "Both of them are dualists — 
they believe in the ghost in the ma- 
chine. I have little sympathy for either 
of their points of view. They would prob- 
ably say the same of mine." 

Consciousness Explained, by Daniel 
Dennett (Little Brown, 1991): "A rather 
premature title, don't you think? Dennett 
is a philosopher who knows some psy- 
chology and also a little about the 
brain and neuroscience. He has inter- 
esting ideas but appears overpersuad- 
ed by his own eloquence. Dennett 
does suggest, in a half-hearted way, a 
few experiments that might' be done to 
support his ideas. Characteristically, 
they are all psychological; one would 
never gather from his book that experi- 
mental confirmation, by the methods of 
neuroscience, is essential." 

On His Own Book: "Crick has many 
interesting ideas and speculations but 
no single concrete, plausible proposal." 

Francis Crick's new book, The Aston- 
ishing Hypothesis: The Scientific 
Search for the Soul, fe published by 
Charles Scribner's Sons (January, 1994). 

October 1 993, page 62: illustration by Lew- 
is E. Calvcr, ire Ur.ivrf'Si'.y d Texas Sour- 
western Medical Center at Dallas. Feb- 
ruary 1994, page 4, top: Anita Kunz; 
page 4, bottom left: David Michael Ken- 
nedy; page 4, bottom right: Alan 
Weisskopf; page 6: Mark Wagoner; 
page 9: © 1993 The Andy Warhol Foun- 
dation for Visual Arts. Inc.; page 16: 
Mark Chin; page 18: Ron LieberrnarVSIS 
© 1993 page 22: Ml. I in/Anglo Australian 
Obsc-va:o'y. page 24: Tony Wang, 
page 26: Mary Bono; page 27: Tass/ 
Srv/oio: paae 29: John O'hsgan: page 
30, bottom: William H. Mullins/Photo Re- 
searchers; page 30, top: Jeff Sedlik/Out- 
line; page 31, top: Deborah Feingold/ 
Outline; page 31, middle: Tony Costa/ 
Outline; page 31, bottom: Will and Deni 
lv1clri"LV'i'c/Pho;--i Reses'ci"e'S page 32, 
top: Free: Siein/B ack S:sr : page 32, bot- 
tom: Focus on Sports, page 34, top: Ne- 
al PresLon/Ouiline. page 34, bottom: Ftow- 
laicl :3".ud o. page 77: 1 on Rol:in: page 
Tim White and Roger Dean; page 79, top: 
Tile Image Bank; page 79, bottom: 
Loren Mclntyre/Woodfin Camp; page 
100: Tony Wang. 

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and I hear what I would never hear 
were these corridors in She light blind- 
ing all other senses. 

I sense the first child near a turn in 
the corridor and realize that the walls 
here are not metal at all, but skin — 
scales, blood, pores. Did 1 already 
know? Did I know this even as I 
stepped into the ship, smelling the mol- 
ecules ol secretions, hearing the 
blood rushing, seeping, and just not 
wanting to believe? As his son, I 
should have known, shouldn't I? 

My feet, in simple boots, whisper 
through dust, through a tinkle like 
glass, a crackling. I reach down to 
touch it and it is what I imagined: 
Years of scales sloughed off from the 
walls, years of skin, brittle and turning 
to dust. My feet have stirred up a 
cloud and my lungs hurt. I cough, 
cough again and walk carefully, so as 
not to stir up the years. 

When I reach the sound — what I 
know must be the child— \ hold up the 
motion-imager and play it across the 
wall. In the odd green light of the dis- 
play I see the moving outline of it, 
84 OMNI 

head riveted to the wall, body jerking 
as it struggles to feed. There is an im- 
mense pore — a shadow on the dis- 
play — and it is at this pore that the 
child suckles. The pore reeks of blood. 
It is blood that the child needs. 

I understand these things, as I 

As the small green image moves on 
the display, I hear the child's huge- 
ness — its scaled tail sliding on the 
floor, atrophied arms grasping, at the 
watlskin, heavy jaws pulling at the leath- 
er of the great pore. 

The tail slides across the floor toward 
me and I step back. When it doesn't 
move again, I step over it, hold my 
breath against the dust, and hurry on. 
I know which corridors to take. I know 
where he is, because it is dark, be- 
cause in the dark I am a son of Ha- 
musek, descendent of "New Indians," 
and I am his son. The smells grow 
worse. Excrement. Old blood flaking 
away, turning to dust like rusted metal 
in your mouth. New blood oozing from 
the walls like tears. 

A child like thai will never leave you, 
I say to him. Even death cannot take 
such a child from you, can it, Father? 

Prihoda Delp and her Council were 
worried that I would not have enough 
food and water, that the ship would be 

too large, that I would collapse from 
thirst and hunger before I would find 
him. How could I tell them— that I 
would 'know where he was? 

I trip. I fall to my knees. I sniff, smell- 
ing dryness, skin without flesh. I move 
my hands blindly on the floor until I 
find it. I am afraid — my arms and legs 
are shaking— but I move my hands and 
find what I imagined; A bundle of dry 
bones. The twisted skin of a child 
dead for decades, injured by another 
perhaps, or lost between pores — its 
body mummified by an atmosphere 
that allows the bacteria of rot only if he 
wishes it . . . which of course he does 
not. You want skin and bones to remem- 
ber them by, don't you, Father. 

My right boot has separated a bone 
from its bundle. I reach down and pull- 
When I have freed it, 1 rise and take it 
with me, the ribbons of dry sinew and 
skin whispering against my skin. 

So this is what you want — what you 
would like us all to be? 

In the end I find him by the smell and 
by the sheer number of children, living 
and dead, that fill the corridors, the 
ones leading to the room at the heart 
of the ship. I find him by his smell and 
his sounds — the shifting of flesh against 
a metal that barely contains him, the 
rasp of scales wider than my face 

against the alloy, the whisper of nutri- 
ents moving through kilometers of 
tubes from distant hydroponic tanks to 
the buccal orifices of his body, and the 
whisper of waste through other tubing. 

He is exactly where 1 imagined he 
would be — in the room that houses the 
ship's great brain, which is his only com- 
panion now: like a wife who will not 
leave him. 

The dry, mummified bodies of his 
dead children (how many generations?) 
litter the entrance.. I climb over them on 
hands and knees, my boots tearing 
through the skin and scales and brittler 
bones, then holding. I hear him shift on- 
ly meters away — scales against metal, 
talons against themselves, the great 
lungs inhaling the stale air of a room 
whose ceiling towers in the dark. The 
whole room sighs. 

It has not left this room in years, I 
know. The scanners were wrong: They 
saw his children, his immense children, 
and thought they were the father. It can- 
not leave the room. It fills it so complete- 
ly that the electronic interfaces it once 
built between itself and the ship are em- 
bedded in its flesh now, have become 
its very neural wiring, the walls but an- 
other skin, the ship's body inseparable 
from its own. I smell its breath, which 
reeks of ancient air, ancient tubing, nu- 
trients that would kill me if I drank 
them, blood that has been changed by 
fifty years of Mapping into something no 
longer blood. 

I do not use the devices. I do not 
need to. I see him clearly, a reptile 
with the jaws of a demeer,' that small, 
snarling demon of Hamusek no longer 
than a man's arm, that nightmare of chil- 
dren scared of the dark: Don't let the 
demeer night-bite! But this one is 
huge, a demeer-God, feeding on the 

Father?. . . I say. I say it silently, 
eyes closed, my legs deep in the 
bones and skin of his children. He can 
hear me. I can feel his thoughts pass 
across my own, pass again, curious: 


You know me. Father. 

He has taken our "sensitivity" — our "wil- 
derness gifts" — and with the Maps 
made of them something greater, as I 
knew he would. I will talk to him I told 
the Council. How? they said, incredu- 
lous. He is no longer human. 

He was the Master of Maps, I told 
them. / am his son. That is enough. . . . 

The body shifts. The floors creak. The 
secretions at the pores dry for an in- 
stant. The walls sigh. 

it has, it realizes now, wanted this mo- 
ment for years, though it has not 

known why. It has wanted one of us to 
come — one of the man's three sons — 
to come, to see what the man has made, 
to behold what he believes he is and 
by believing, has made of himself. 

Father ... I say. 

It does not answer. 

You are not, I tell him, what you imag- 
ine. I show it — what it imagines: 

A spark darker than any night burn- 
ing in a body so inhuman that the 
gods who made it weep, turn away, de- 
ny their creation. 

A father who lets his children feed on 
his blood, only to consume them him- 
self, in his hunger and hatred, 

A reptile who imagines itself a moth, 
imagining a moon that just isn't there. 

Then I show it something else. I 
show it: 

Three sons and a daughter asleep 
on their cots in a quiet house, the four 
lights of their souls, their father ih an- 
other room, unaware. I show the moth- 
er and the daughter dying, the two 
lights fading — while the three other 
lights live on. I show him the father 
again — in another room, larger and dark- 
er—unaware of these lights, I show it a 
man who imagines himself to be a rep- 
tile—to be the darkness made by the 
two lights that have gone out, because 
he has forgotten his own, and the liv- 

ing three. . . . 

No! the creature says and the room, 
the ship, the bones under me shake. I 
know that if I go on showing it what it 
must not see, it will kill me. 

I show it a pond. I let it hear a sing- 
ing — a father's — 

The floor buckles, metal pops, the hid- 
eous tail moves swiftly through a cloud 
of bones and scales toward me — 

Is this what you really want? I ask it. 

I hold up the bone 1 have brought so 
that it may see it. It sees what I see in 
the eye of my mind. 

Bones explode before me in the dark- 
ness, the great tail thrashing as it tries 
to reach me. Splinters rain on my face. 
Dust fills my lungs. I cry out, dropping 
the bone, protecting eyes with hands 
as light explodes inside my skull, goes 
dark, black bones taking their place, pull- 
ing me toward them, toward darkness. 

I am down on my knees in the 
bones, skin, and scales of his children. 
I show it a picture of the man's 
daughter — 

And the jaws — those two reptile yet 
human heads — scream at me. The tail 
rushes and I fall again among the 
bones, hug them to me, feel myself lift- 
ed in the air, dropped. I lie coughing in 
the dust, and in wetter things. 

Tubing has pulled from the walls. The 

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air stinks of nutrients. I hear trickling — 
down walls, across floors. I am afraid !■ 
will touch it — the fluid — that it will burn. 

I cannot breathe. I hold my sleeve to 
my nose and try, but I cannot. 

I take the container I have brought 
with me and unscrew the lid. Do you 
know—do you know what I have 
brought with me? 

It knows — because it sees what I see 
now — and before the great tail can 
reach me, to keep me from doing what 
I must do, I pour the ashes from the con- 
tainer into my hands, raise my hand, 
and blow them. 

The ashes move as slow as a dream 
toward the creature — in the darkness 
here. The ashes mix with the dust. 

/ bring you your daughter and your 
wife. I would bring us all to you as dust 
if I could— 

The jaws scream again, in harmony. 
The tail moves through the air— 

Our mother and sister lay in the antisep- 
tic plastic bubbles of their hospital 
room while the computers of the Capi- 
tol's Medical Center — linked by sub- 
space lightcom to the great computers 
orbiting Tar and Rasi — ran the Changing 
machines, splicing genes with lasers, ac- 
celerating the growth of cells. It took 
four days, and when the asymptotic ma- , 
lignancies began to appear — when the 
computers began to scream in alarm — 
it was too late. The cells were cycling 
on. Growth without direction. 

I did not see them, but I heard. Or- 
gans invading other organs, destroying 
all boundaries of function. Vlapless bod- 
ies that could not be reclaimed be- 
cause they were no longer human, no 
longer Mappable. Flesh as dark as 
night. Bone curling within the flesh like 
pale vines. Noses where there should be 
none. Tongues where eyes should be. 
Stomachs that had swallowed hearts. In- 
testines snaking from every orifice. 

He had wanted to believe that we Ha- 
musek were- a perfect marriage of the 
genetic codons of Caucasian India and 
Asiatic North America. He had so 
loved the wilderness legends he had 
learned as a child and the euphony of 
our Dravidian names, that this is what 
he wanted. 

For a year he had shown our mother 
and sister the faces and bodies they 
might have, calling them up on the 
screen of his university computer. He 
had asked them again and again: 
"What would you like? That proud 
nose, Ladah? Those high cheekbones 
to go with your blue-black hair? That 
smooth forehead, those rounded 
cheeks, Premila? The epicanthic eyes 
of one people and the narrow waist, 
wide hips of the other? Which?" He 

asked them so often that in the end he 
convinced them that it was indeed 
what they wanted. To be Changed. To 
be the first. Because they were our wom- 
en. "Because," as he said, "it is wom- 
en that men love." 

Our mother would say: "What would 
you like us-to be?" 

And our sister would say only: "I 
want to look like Mother, Father." 

In the end he had chosen for them, 
without asking what we — his sons — 
might want. 

In the investigation — which found no 
criminal negligence, because of 
course there had been none — our true 
history as a people appeared. In a cab- 
inet of wood-pulp records so old that 
they had been forgotten, that they had 

been lost long before Hamusek's capi- 
tol ever knew its first computer, we 
found what we were. In the extreme 
northeast corner of the nation of India, 
on the continent of Asia, on Earth, 
there had been a region called Arun- 
chal Pradesh — in the language of its peo- 
ple, "the land of the rising sun." A 
world of endless forests; rivers, and 
mountains, it had been the home of a 
people of Asiatic stock who believed in 
the power of animal souls, in nature 
both Dark and Light. When a neighbor- 
ing nation took this land, making it Pak- 
istani, the people of Arunchal Pradesh 
could not abide by it. Their land had 
been their "India," and now it was not. 
After a decade, selling the resources of 
their wilderness — its oil, coal and wa- 




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ter — to clandestiriQ brokers who cared 
nothing for national boundaries, the peo- 
ple of Arunchal Pradesh had their mon- 
ey, their corporation, and could leave- 
to find their "new India." 

They had been the first in Hamusek, 
yessir, the sons and daughters of Asi- 
atic North America, hearing of a wilder- 
ness world like Hamusek, had come 
too — with their legends. Later, the dis- 
affected of a Terran India in constant 
turmoil had come, too, bringing their leg- 
ends as well. Legend had been added 
to legend. At first the descendants of 
Arunchal Pradesh had not intermarried. 
As time passed, they had. 

The genetic paradigm of Hamusek 
had not been a perfect marriage. It had 
been a Sino-Tibetan Map layered over 
time with the genes of two continents. 
It had been one face . . . slowly becom- 
ing two. 

Like him. A single creature. Each 
face regarding the other. 

A people's legends, I understand 
now, are the stories they tell themselves 
in the darkness to make 
sense of a universe they do 
not understand. These sto- 
ries may be a Light — 

But they are never the 
true history of their flesh and 

yet the room is quiet. I hear fluid trickle 
down walls, yet the tail does not move. 
A light is growing somewhere in the 
room and this makes no sense. I think: 
Fire?\ think: Delirium? 

The room fades. The light grows bright- 
er, and I know this is what the creature 
wants — that we remember it together: . 

He is sitting on the porch at home, over- 
looking the pond. He is crying and I 
have never seen him this way. But I 
have been crying too. It is noon. The 
sun is bright. My mother and my sister 
have died and it is the next day, / 
didn't mean to, he is saying. / didn't 
know, Rau. I thought — 

I am sixteen, but I know what 1 know 
now. I want to say to him: You were im- 
patient, Father. You wanted to Change 
them, to make them the very first to 
give them "gifts" everyone could see- 
as if they were Maps, Father, not hu- 
man beings, and you the Great Map- 
maker You were so sure. You were so 
certain that "North American Indian" 

He buried them both on the 
planet we call The Hand, be- 
cause that way, he knew, 
there would at least be 
bones — clear white relics of 
death, of his shame, his self- 
hatred. He would be able to 
think of them lying there in the ground 
for years, and by thinking, feed the dark- 

I knew this. I knew this when I went 
there and dug the bones up. 

When I found the grave outside 
Clay and dug them up. I was crying, 
but when I burned them to ash in a kiln 
in the nearest village, I was not— for I 
knew it needed to be done. 

The tail strikes the floor near me. 
Bones leap, striking my face, my 
chest. I step aside. I blow into my 
. palm once more. The room shakes. I 
blow and hear a cry. 

The sound becomes something 
else: Rhythmic, a breathing that cannot 
find air, a muscle contracting in pain, 
a human heart on fire. 

The tail rises again, moves, hits me — 

— and I die. 

When I wake. I am not dead, but my 
left arm is broken, and my left leg too 
perhaps. For a moment I do not know 
where I am. It'is the ship, and yet it is 
not. I hear the massive breathing, and 







was the genetic source, because you 
wanted it to be. You wanted those leg- 
ends, and because you did, you didn't 
wait. . . . You wanted the universe to be 
what you wanted it to be, Father. 

Impatience. I want to tell him, has nev- 
er been a Hamusek trait. Nor was it one 
of their traits either, Father. 

But I do not tell him these things. He 
is my father. I am his son. 

/ must leave, he says suddenly. 

/ do not understand, I say. I am 

/ cannot live-here anymore. As he 
says H, 1 know what he expects: that 
because I am the eldest, I will tell the 
others. I must go, Rau. i must bury your 
motherand sister where they should be 
buried, and then . . . and then I — 

Who will we stay with, Father? I can 
barely say it. My voice shakes too. 

Your aunt and your cousins. His 
voice is distant, like a death. You will 
all be fine, Rau. 

I want to go with you, I say. 
Please . . . 

No, he says quietly, then, I think, he 

whispers: / am going where no one 
else can go, Rau . . . 

I think I hear him say: Stay right 
here, Rau . . . in the light. 

I do. I sit on the porch— in the mid- 
day sun — because he has told me to. 
1 sit there long after he has left. 

/ will go with you, Father, I tell him in 
the darkness, in this room. / will go 
with you now, if you want me to. 
He says nothing, and then he says: 

To show you that you are wrong. 
The man on the porch looks up, 
tears covering his face like blood, flu- 
ids seeping from walls. 
He is trying to understand. 
You know what I mean, Father, I tell 
him. It is time for this to end. You've 
been waiting. You've known it would 
come to this. I am your son. 

The man is shaking. The ship is shak- 
ing. I must kneel because 1 cannot 
stand. One of the children moves listless- 
ly in the bones beside me, whimpering. 
You would do this for me? 
he asks at last. The words 
are barely human, even 
skull to skull, like this. I bare- 
ly recognize the voice, the 
face that has begun to 
change in the night, on this 
porch, by this pond. 

Why? the jaws ask, open- 
ing and closing. 

To show you a Light, 

The wallskins around me 
drip with something that 
smells hideous. The children 
in the darkness behind me do not like 
it either, and complain, making 
hoarse, little cries with vestigial 
throats. They want something else — ■ 
something to fill their stomachs and end 
their hunger, not something like this. 
There is no Light, the jaws say. 
There is always, I tell it. 
Not in Darkness. 

There is no Darkness without Light to 
know it by — 

You woulddle forme?the man asks 
suddenly. You would— despite what I 
am, what I have done — die for me? 
Yes, Father. 

It is the porch. The man I know as my 
father is singing. He is singing the en- 
tire song, the one he loved. Mother and 
Premila are in the house and it is the 
four men — father and three sons— on 
the porch, looking out at the woods. 
The father's eyes twinkle, teasing us, as 
he sings the end of the song: how the 
woman, whose dead lover has returned 
to her for a night but now must go, 
stops him: 

Oh when shall I see you again, my 


When shall I see you again? 

And the ghost of her dead lover 

When little fish they fly and the seas 

they do run dry 

And the hard rocks do melt in the sun. 

When little fish they fly and the seas 

they do run dry 

And the hard rocks do melt in the sun . . . 

He is telling me why. He is telling me 
at last why he buried them there — on 
the planet we call The Hand — with its 
dead seas, its Hying fish, its searing 
stone ... so far from Hamusek, so far 
from home. He is telling me how songs, 

like legends, may make us do what we do. 

1 nod. His eyes twinkle. We get up, 
to go inside — 

I get up on one leg, wondering how 
much blood I have lost, whether I will 
be able to walk. I pull up the sleeve of 
my broken arm. 1 unbutton my shirt, 
which is wet. I want him to see my 
wrist, my neck; I want him to see tire 
scars, so thai he will understand, if he 
does not already, why the Council sent 
me instead of my brothers. 

There is one scar at my wrist. There 
is another at my throat. Both are deep 
and both were made with a blade of vol- 
canic glass on a planet we call The 
Hand, a year after my father left. Both 
were made in the hope that Darkness 
would take me from the Light. 



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n^?r?r^fTfr? 8K--: Jercnhio Read, wins, CA 9271S 

Fever, dehydration, and delirium last- 
ed, I'm told, a week, and when the res- 
cue team found me in the cave over- 
looking the dry lava beds and endless 
sand. I was, in the opinion of doctors, 
half a day from death. I had traveled so 
far in my dreams, and yet had never 
left the cave. I had discovered — on my 
long journey — that Darkness is not a sin- 
gle color, nor the absence of light, nor 
a true hunger for death, but only a de- 
sire for the end of pain. 

It was a week later that I Oug Lip 
their bones and burnt them to ash. 

The Council knew all of this, and so 
I was the one they sent. 

You understand don't you? if says at 

Yes. I do. 

It is a remarkable thing when a ship and 
its flesh-and-bone body die. The tubes 
stop their pulsing. The hydroponics 
tanks shut down, leaving nothing for the 
tubes to carry. The body that has been 
engineered for this very day — by its 
own deepest knowing, deeper than a 
Map, as deep as light itself— begins to 
dry out. The bones protrude from the 
skin. The odors change from a living 
death to a true death, to a darkness 
that calls itself by its real name, and by 
doing so, becomes light. Children who 
should never .have been born — be- 
cause they were made in the image of 
a lie — begin to scream in the thin, shrill 
way they know, and then begin to die. 
You do not know how long it all 
takes. You lie in your own blood, your 
protruding bone, seeing a porch and a 
man and a snarling reptile no longer 
than your arm. Then you are up and walk- 
ing. You pass scaly children in endless 
corridors, you trip, you fall, they pass 
over you, crawling, looking for walls 
that can feed them one last time. They 
are thirsty. They are scared. They can 
hear their brothers and sisters dying, 
and you feel suddenly what it must be 
like for them: To be abandoned by the 
one you love — by the one who loves you. 

The engines are dying, too. The 
wallsktns no longer smell. The silence 
is broken by the twitch of a tail, a claw, 
a child jerking once beside you. 

You get up again. It is difficult, but 
you do. You reach behind you with 
your good arm to find" the transmitter. 
You push the button the Council has 
made large enough for you to find it eas- 
ily in the dark. 

The transmission is something you 
can almost see: 

A spark heading out into the dark- 
ness . . . where someone is waiting to 
come for you. DO 


Field work is extremely slow and pain- 
ful. One hour on foot, one hour on a 
mule, hacking through the thick vege- 
tation. So you must decide what will be 
the greatest return for the investment of 
field activity. On five field trips into the 
central Peten area since 1988, we've 
seen an incredible amount of looting 
and destruction — people usually in 
groups of four and five, robbing tombs 
and stealing artifacts. Remote sensing 
gives us another way to beat the loot- 
ers into the field, though generally they 
have beaten us. Looting can be even 
more dangerous than leftist guerrillas. 
Omni: Have you had any close calls? 
Sever: Our group has never had a prob- 
lem with looters, but we had a run-in 
with leftist guerrillas during our second 
field season. Even though we took 
many precautions, including passing 
along our intentions to the villagers so 
the word would spread, some people 
weren't too happy that we were there. 
One morning, about 30 minutes into the 
field, we were ambushed and captured 
by leftists. At first there was a lot of yell- 
ing; then they rounded us up and kept 
us covered with their AK-47s. 

We knew we were in trouble when 
they frisked us but let us keep our big 
machete and bowie knives. The knives 
were no threat to them. They took us 
through the woods to a clearing and sur- 
rounded us. That's when I thought it 
was really over and said to myself, "I 
guess this is it." But then our group had 
a chance to sit in a circle and talk for 
15 minutes. We told each other things, 

. like how we should avoid eye contact 
with our captors, not show any emotion, 

■ don't look mad. We were making it up 
as we went along. 

The first question, in Spanish, was, 
"Who here works for NASA?" We have 
jokes about this. I claim they all point- 
ed at me! They claim there was an in- 
credible silence as we looked around 
at them. They held up the Global Posi- 
tioning System [GPS] receiver. Even 
though I thought I had inspected it 
well and cleaned everything, they 
found a little NASA decal on it. A col- 
league, Jim Nations, told them none of 
us could speak Spanish, and they took 
him away. That was scary. We didn't 
know if we'd ever see him again. 

After 45 minutes, they brought him 
back and said things would be all 
right. Their lieutenant was a man of hon- 
or, Then they interrogated each of us 
individually for about ten hours. All this 
time,. they kept their guns on us. Final- 
ly, the lieutenant said that they repre- 

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senied the people of the Peten, that 
their concern was for the poor people, 
and that we were there without permis- 
sion. He wanted the Americans to 
know this. Then he said we were free 
to go. 

Omni: Would you go back again? 
Sever: I'll do whatever has to be done, . 
without undue risk, to further the work. 
Exciting history, like the still-mysterious 
collapse of the Maya culture, waits to 
be discovered in the Peten. We did see 
some unrecorded temple ruins during 
other field trips there. A combination of 
moisture and vegetation bandwidths in 
the near-infrared range of Landsat's the- 
matic mapper are revealing these pyr- 
amids. Because of the way vegetation 
grows around the Maya ruins, and be- 
cause they are elevated features in a 
jungle area notorious for being flat, 
they stand out in the imagery. Sensors 
can see variation and help pinpoint the 
ruins. You can't see them from the air 
when you fly over, and if you're in the 
field, most likely you'll have to chop 
your way through the jungle to reach a 
specific site. 

Stone monuments from the remote 
Piedras Negras area spotted on the 
black market may lead to other unre- 
corded sites. Glyphs on these monu- 
ments indicate that a great Maya cen- 
ter like Dos Pilas or Tikal, designated 
Site Q, once existed. Eight other cities 
mention it in their histories. Each city 
has its own emblem glyph. The Maya 
glyph, carved in stone, is not fully trans- 
lated, but the epigraphers are continu- 
ing to help us decipher it. 
Omni: Tell us about your work in Israel. 
Sever: We're searching for an ancietit 
fire-signal-tower system mentioned sev- 
eral times in the Bible that we believe 
extended from Jerusalem out into the 
Israelite Kingdom. We took GPS read- 
ings of 25 of the probable signal-tower 
sites and added these measurements 
to our geographic-information-system 
[GIS] database of !he region. By digit- 
izing the contour lines on topographic 
maps, we can make 3-Olike oblique im- 
ages of that topography. Line-of-site 
computer imaging highlights such 
things as location and elevation. Then 
we take positions on hilltops that 
would be lines of communication be- 
tween signal towers. This analysis will 
tell us the best way to communicate 
from point A to point B. Later, we'll go 
into the field again and excavate to ver- 
ify the sites. If they prove to be towers, 
it may demonstrate these Iron Age [cir- 
ca 1000 B.c. to 100 A.D.] people were 
more mathematically and scientifically 
sophisticated than generally thought. 
The engineering for tower height alone 
would include such factors as the dis- 

tance and elevations of the two closest 
signaling towers. 

Omni: Do you have any projects in the 
United States? 

Sever: The Army Corps of Engineers 
has asked us to the Wright-Patterson Air 
Force Base in Ohio to pinpoint the 
Wright brothers' 1910 hanger. They've 
narrowed it down to a ten-acre area. We 
anticipate thermal sensors will also de- 
fine a roadbed, a launch rail, privies, per- 
haps even a runway or a corridor lead- 
ing out from the hanger. 

We may fly a new instrument now be- 
ing developed: the ATLAS. It represents 
a new generation — it's lighter, more sen- 
sitive, and better all around than TIMS. 
It'll record nine bandwidth channels of 
the energy spectrum in the visible and 
near infrared as well as the six narrow- 
band thermal channels currently in the 
TIMS. A single, compact ATLAS is ca- 
pable of recording 15 electromagnetic 
bandwidths at once, whereas before, 
the same coverage required two sen- 
sors flying at different times. 
Omni: If you could go anywhere with 
the best sensors, where would you go? 
Sever: The unexplored areas of the Am- 
azon on the eastern side of the Andes; 
the Rio Abiseo region in Peru; Siberia, 
northern China, and parts of Mongolia. 
The cultural resources of Mongolia 
were damaged and some destroyed un- 
der communism; what's left must soon 
be preserved. While the tomb of Gen- 
ghis Khan is an ultimate goal of many 
researchers, our investigations would fo- 
cus more on the culture in its entirety. 
We're not looking for specific treasure, 
but rather the history of an entire 
group of people. 

Omni: Will this technology be available 
to people in the future? 
Sever: You might put on a pair of spe- 
cial glasses and see much that's in- 
visible to the human eye. With a little cal- 
culator in your pocket, you could 
change programs to create different fil- 
ters on the lenses, enabling you to ex- 
perience vision in the invisible portion 
of the electromagnetic spectrum. With 
one filter, you could walk across the land- 
scape and see blighted trees and dis- 
eases in the grass. Turn to another band- 
width, and you'd see moist areas. By 
switching into the microwave range, you 
could see subterranean pipelines. The 
precursor of such glasses is now be- 
ing developed. Some experts think 
this technology may be able to restore 
vision to more than 60 percent of peo- 
ple considered legally blind but who 
have some light retention. 

The same technologies can be adac:- 
ed to reveal many portions of the eiec- 
tromagnetic spectrum. No bandwidVi -s 
better than any other. Each phenotne- 



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Must lie 18 or oilier 
Touch- tons phones only; 

non or focus requires the part of the 
spectrum that best addresses that re- 
search question, be it finding Mayan pyr- 
amids or selecting hazardous-waste 
sites. Now that the GPS network gives 
us precise measurements to within a 
few meters, I've thought of several new 
projects. One is to see how accurately 
tenth- and eleventh-century Arab 
mosques are aligned toward Mecca. 
Omni: What personal sacrifices have 
you made for your work? 
Sever: Archaec.ogists raciilionaily main- 
tain a scoic altitude toward harcshios in 
the field, Sure, I've been thirsty, covered 
with ticks, bitten by snakes, stung by 
scorpions, captured by guerrillas, i've 
even caught malaria somewhere along 
the way. But many scientists and re- 
searchers go through similar if not 
worse hardships. It's unfortunate that 
people are attracted to this Indiana 
Jones-syndrome aspect of our work. 
It's the other side I'm in love with: the 
discovery, seeing things you've never 
seen or even thought about before, and 
testing hypotheses to sort the probable 
from the improbable. 
Omni: Did you have any heroes as a 
young child? 

Sever: They are teachers, colleagues, 
and friends. I admire these people for 
their uncompromising dedication to 
their work and because they maintain 
the highest standards of quality. It's dis- 
couraging when you see high stand- 
ards being ignored. In my mid twenties, 
I went to a lecture by Erich Von Dan- 
iken whose Chariots of the Gods was 
very popular then. The auditorium was 
sold out. I was astounded that 2,000 peo- 
ple could give Von Danjken this enthu- 
siastic support when he was obviously 
wrong. I was scandalized by the lack 
of his knowledge of archaeology and as- 
tronomy. Even though I'd been active- 
ly interested in these subjects for just 
a few years, I could see through what 
he was telling people. It taught me to 
be careful and try to educate people. 
Omni: What does the extension of hu- 
man senses through remote-sensing 
technology mean for our future? 
Sever: As a species, we've been lit- 
erally blind to the universe around us. 
If the known electromagnetic spec- 
trum — from cosmic rays to visible light 
to huge seismic waves of the earth's in- 
terior — were scaled up to stretch 
around the planet's circumference, 
then the human eye and conventional 
film would see only the visible-light por- 
tion, equal to the diameter of a pencil! 
Our ability to build detectors that see' 
where we can't see and computers 
that bring invisible information back to 
our eyesight will contribute to our sur- 
vival on Earth and in space. DO 


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And a dash of Lewis Carroll thrown in for good measure 

By Scot Morris 

This month, I'm going 
to wrap up. a couple of old 
p Lizzies and pose some' 
of Lewis Carroll's favorite 

. In December, I. asked, 
what would happen to 
marshmallows in a vacuum.. 
The answer can be seen 
below and .at right. The 
marshmallows sit in a plastic 
vacuum jar equipped with 
an airtight seal at top and. a 


Before: What happens 
when you place 
ordinary marshmallows 
in a vacuum jar? 

detachable pump/for remov- 
ing- the air. The jar's 
designed for storing coffee, 
nuts, or fruit. But. unlike 
. those items, marshmallows 
grow larger and larger as 
more air is pumped out of 
the jar. As the molecules of 
air get spread farther and 
farther apart,- so do' the 
molecules inside- the flexible 
marshmallows. Pinching a 
nozzle at the. top of the jar 
lets air back inside, and the 
fluffy sweets immediately 
shrink back to normal size. 
I also asked this question 

100 OMNI 

a'ooul soorts and numbers: 
hsnooke' = I, baseball = 2, 
football = 4, and basket- 
ball = 8, what's the logic 
behind the number match- 
ups? You don't have to 
know a lot about sports to 
solve this, I hinted, and once 
you've come up with the 
answer, you should -be able 
io figure out.the correspond- 
ing numbers for volleyball 
and soccer.- It might require 
a visit to a sporting-goods 
store, but there you'd 
determine that the correct 
numbers are' volleyball = 18 
and soccer = 32. 'Can you 
solve the puzzle now? 
(Answer below.) 

Try your hand at these 
puzzles; the first three were 
o-ig,na::y posed by Lewis 
Carroll. . 

1. Abac comalns one stone, 
ei-her white or black. A white 
stone is put into the bag, the 
bag shaken, and a wriit< 


probability that the stone in 
the bag- is also white? 

2. Carroll said he had two 
clocks. One lost a minute a 
day, and the other didn't 
work at all.' Which clock did 
he prefer? 

3. "Supposing on Tuesday." 
Carroll.wrote to the Illus- 
trated London News In 
1857. "it is morning ,n Lon- 
don; in another hour it 
would be Tuesday morning 
at the West of England; . 
if the whole world were, land, 
we might go on tracing, 
Tuesday, morning, Tuesday 
morning all the way 
round, -till in twenty-four 
hours we got to London 
again. But we knew that at 

' London, twenty-four hours 
after Tuesday morning, it is 
Wednes'day morning. 

Where, then, in its passage 
round the. earth, does 
.the day change its name?" 
The answer is well known 
and should pose no 
problem. But there's some- 
thing remarkable about the 
question.. What is it? -.. 

4. What is the. difference 
between six dozen dozen 
and half a' dozen dozen? 

5. Which of the following 
words doesn't belong 
with the others and why: 
Father, Aunt, Sister, 
Cousin, Mother, Uncle . 

6. ii three cats catch three 
mice in three minutes, 

how many cats will.be need- 
ed to-'.cateh 100 mice 
in 10.0 minutes? 

7. Name four U.S. presi- 
dents whose last names are 
spelled with four letters, 


Balis and numbers: The 
digits repiesonl the total 
number of areas into 
which seams, if any, divide 
the ball. Thus a snooker 
ball is ore solid surface, a 
baseball consists of two 
pieces of leather stitched 
together, a football is. 
made of fou" pieces, and 
a basketballs surface is 
divided ink; eight areas. 
Most volley bails consist of 
18 pieces, and soccer balls 
:raoilio'ially are stitched 
from'32 pentagons, 
1. "I he prcoabilny Is ¥• Le: 
White #1 be the white stone- 
that may be in the bag to 
start with and'White #2 be 
the one added. After a white- 
stone is removed, three 
In bag Out of bag 

White- #1 White #2 
White #2: White #1 
Black. White #2 

All possibilities .are equal- 
ly likely, and in two-out 
of uiree cases, the stone 
-ernaining insino is white. 
2. Carroll preferred "the ' 
broken clock. The one that 
Inst ti-^e is correct once 
every two years, he argued, 
but the stopped clock is 
right twice a' day. 
3. -Days change when a 
traveler cresses the interna- 
tional Date Line.-which 

After: The air gets 
pumped out, 
and the marshmallows 
get pumped up. 

was drawn by international 
agreement to settle 
such ..questions. It was 
established in 1884, 
however, long after .Carroll 
had posed his question. 
4.864 -72 = 792 
.5. Cousin is the only word 
in the list that doesn't 
specify gendeh ' 

6. Three. The- same three 
cats are already averaging 
one mouse per minute. 

so in 100 minutes, if they 
don't get tired, they 
should clear out 100 mice. 

7. Polk* Taft,;-.For.d, Bush DO